Everton v Swansea City
Roberto Martinez says Lacina Traore is likely to make his Everton debut in Sunday’s FA Cup tie against Swansea City.
The striker was an unused substitute at White Hart Lane last weekend and was earmarked to play some part in the midweek game against Crystal Palace.
Traore was again named on the bench when the teams were announced on Wednesday, prior to the match falling victim to the adverse weather.
And with no midweek fixture to contend with, the Blues boss says the Ivorian has ‘benefitted’ from the chance to get some added days of training and recovery.
“He’s getting there. He’s been working really well and benefitted from these extra days from an individual’s point of view,” Martinez said at his Friday press conference.
“Lacina has been sharp in training and has surprised everyone in the medical department at how quickly he has got his fitness levels high for the competition.
“We have to make sure there is no risk for him to participate but, clearly, there is a good opportunity for him to be involved on Sunday in one way or another.”
Martinez also confirmed that he has no fresh injury concerns from the previous time he addressed the media on Tuesday morning.
Romelu Lukaku [ankle] and Antolin Alcaraz [muscle fatigue] are continuing to make progress, but the Spaniard says the Swansea tie will come too soon for the pair.
He added: “We are exactly the same as we were on Wednesday in terms of numbers. We have the same squad, with the three long-term absentees.
“Bryan Oviedo has been around the players and is recovering well. Darron Gibson and Arouna Kone are still out, while Antolin Alcaraz will miss the weekend but is nearly ready. Romelu Lukaku is very similar.”
Caretaker boss Garry Monk could hardly have made a better start to life in the Liberty Stadium hotseat having taken over from Dane Michael Laudrup, who was sacked following Swansea's 2-0 defeat at West Ham United in early February.
The 34-year-old faced none other than Swansea's arch rivals Cardiff City in his very first game and guided his side to a stunning 3-0 victory.
That was followed up by a 1-1 draw at Stoke City, a result which leaves the Welsh outfit 10th in the Barclays Premier League table with 28 points from their 26 games.
Everton, meanwhile, head into the game looking to make an immediate return to winning ways following last Sunday's narrow defeat at Tottenham.
The Blues have had extra days to prepare for the cup clash after Wednesday night's game against Crystal Palace was postponed due to safety concerns caused by the weather.
Roberto Martinez has still suffered only one home defeat since taking the reins at Goodison Park - a 1-0 reverse with 10 men against Sunderland on Boxing Day.
While Everton have overcome QPR and Stevenage to book a place in this last-16 stage of the competition, Swansea carved their path with wins away at Manchester United and Birmingham City.
Swansea City 1-2 Everton, 22 December 2013
Two exquisite strikes from Seamus Coleman and Ross Barkley helped Everton move into the top four when the two sides last met less than two months ago at the Liberty Stadium.
Right-back Coleman was in a purple patch of scoring form and thumped the Blues ahead with a bullet of a right-foot shot on 66 minutes.
That lead was to be short-lived thanks to an unfortunate own goal from Bryan Oviedo four minutes later, only for Barkley to deservedly snatch all three points with a pinpoint free-kick that sailed past goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel and in off the underside of the crossbar.
Historically, Everton have a significant advantage heading into Sunday's fixture. The two clubs have met on 18 occasions since their first clash in September 1930 and the Toffees have never lost.