Southampton v Everton
Sylvain Distin has been ruled out of Everton’s Premier League match against Southampton this Saturday.
Distin was substituted at half-time in last weekend’s 2-0 victory over Manchester United with a hamstring complaint and has not recovered in time for the trip to St Mary’s.
Roberto Martinez revealed that he expects the full extent of the Frenchman’s injury to be determined in the coming days.
Distin’s absence is another blow for the Blues boss, who is already without one centre-half in Phil Jagielka and this week discovered winger Kevin Mirallas will miss the final three fixtures of the campaign with a groin tear.
Speaking at his Thursday morning press conference, Martinez said: “Sylvain Distin had to come off against Manchester United on Sunday and he won’t be fit for this weekend.
“It’s a little bit too early to know how long he is going to be out. It’s a soft tissue injury with his hamstring and I do feel that in the next 48 hours we will have a clearer idea of whether he is going to be available before the season ends.
“Kevin Mirallas also came off and we thought at the time it was just a bit of cramping of the muscles, but he has got a little bit of a tear in his groin and the season is over for him. It will be between three and four weeks, so that’s Kevin out for the season.
“Apart from that, everyone who was available for the squad against Manchester United will be available for Southampton.”
Meanwhile, Martinez says it is unlikely Lacina Traore will be fit enough to play again for Everton this season.
The on-loan striker has been sidelined through injury since the game at Chelsea at the end of February.
Martinez added: "I don't think we'll see Lacina again this season. It would be a surprise if he's fully fit before the Hull City game.
"He's recovering well and clearly he'll be fully fit for the World Cup if he's considered for selection. But, at the moment, I think any games in this league campaign are going to be a little too early for him."
Darron Gibson (knee), Bryan Oviedo (leg), Steven Pienaar and Arouna Kone (knee) are also unavailable for the game on the South Coast.
Everton are looking for their fourth consecutive away win as they seek to finish above Arsenal and clinch Champions League qualification.
Roberto Martinez’s men have beaten Sunderland, Fulham and Newcastle in their last three games on the road, scoring seven goals and conceding just the one.
The Toffees have only lost once in their last eight games, which includes big home wins against Manchester United and Arsenal.
Meanwhile, Southampton head into this weekend’s clash having failed to win in their last three Premier League games.
Their last outing was a goalless draw away to struggling Aston Villa and Mauricio Pochettino's side also came unstuck in their last home game against another team threatened by relegation, losing 1-0 to Cardiff City.
Jay Rodriguez, Adam Lallana and Ricky Lambert have combined to score a total of 39 goals between them for the Saints so far this season. The form of those front three has been a massive positive for Southampton, which deservedly put them all in the running to make the England squad for Brazil this summer.
However, top scorer Rodriguez will now miss the World Cup after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during the defeat at Manchester City.
Everton 2-1 Southampton - December 2013
It was a victory that meant Everton equalled their best-ever record for fewest defeats in a calendar year.
More significantly, the Toffees entered 2014 where they will hope to finish on May 11 – inside the top four.
Everton took an early lead through Seamus Coleman but were pegged back by Gaston Ramirez's second-half thunderbolt.
But the Blues instantly regrouped to regain the advantage when Romelu Lukaku smashed home.
Prior to that, Everton’s last visit to St Mary’s, in January of 2013, ended in a goalless draw.
The Toffees’ last away win at Southampton came back in 2001/02 when a Steve Watson goal grabbed the three points.