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Saturday 27 September K.O. 12:45

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Stadium of Light | 12th April 2014 15:07 | Attendance - 38445

Sunderland v Everton

Team News

Leon Osman will continue to be assessed in the build-up to Saturday’s trip to the Stadium of Light.

Osman was forced off after nine minutes in the 3-0 win over Arsenal with a cut that left him sporting a black eye and needing stitches.

The midfielder has trained with the squad this week and Roberto Martinez said on Tuesday that he would be surprised if the 32-year-old wasn’t fit for the clash with Sunderland.

The Blues boss offered a further update at his Thursday press conference, explaining he would have a clearer idea whether Osman would be available for selection after the day’s training session.

He said: “Leon Osman is the only doubt that we have from the squad on Sunday [against Arsenal]. The cut is healing well but the eye is not fully open.

“We need to make sure that it doesn’t affect his vision, so we will have a clear idea after training today [Thursday].”

Phil Jagielka will again miss out as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury, though Martinez revealed that the captain will participate in a bounce game later in the week to step up his fitness.

“With Phil being a centre-half, I want to make sure that he is 100 per cent to play 90 minutes,” added Martinez.

Leon OsmanRoberto Martinez hopes to have Leon Osman available for the trip to the North East. The midfielder required five stitches above his eye following a collision during the 3-0 win over Arsenal.

“We are going to organise a behind-closed-doors friendly and make sure he plays 90 minutes before he gets involved with the squad.

“He’s been reacting well to treatment and it has been great to have these couple of weeks regenerating and to have given him every opportunity to make sure he is fully fit. We don’t want one per cent of risk of re-injuring.

“I’m hoping that Phil will be available over the next 10 days but it’s dependant on the behind-closed-doors exercise.”

Gareth Barry is one booking away from a two-game suspension after accumulating nine yellow cards.

Saturday’s match is the last before the amnesty, but Martinez says he will not be taking the Manchester City loanee out of the team to protect him from any potential ban at this critical stage of the season.

“I think over the years you learn that there are certain players who can cope with those situations better than others,” added Martinez.

“Gareth has got the experience to play the game and focus on what he has to do without having those issues in his mind.

“It’s important that we focus on the game and the situation with the bookings is something that I’m not concerned with at the moment.”

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet remains without long-term absentees Steven Fletcher and Keiren Westwood but has no other injury problems.

Wes Brown is available, the former Manchester United defender having recovered from a facial injury sustained against Tottenham Hotspur on Monday.

Form

Sunderland's 5-1 reverse at Tottenham Hotspur on Monday night left the Black Cats rooted to the bottom of the top-flight table without a league win since 1 February.

That victory was a magnificent 3-0 away-day destruction of their fiercest rivals Newcastle United, but 10 games since have brought eight defeats and just one success - an FA Cup fifth round win over Southampton.

Hull City ended that cup run in the next round - a week after Gus Poyet's men were edged out in the League Cup final against Manchester City.

NaismithLast weekend's defeat of the Gunners was a sixth win in a row for Everton - one more would be a Club record.

Everton, meanwhile, are looking to rack up their best ever run of consecutive Premier League wins.

The Blues' current tally of six straight league victories is equal with a haul of six successes in a row triggered by Wayne Rooney's first ever Premier League strike against Arsenal in October 2002.

Roberto Martinez's men have notched 15 goals during their current run - including three in each of their last four games - with eight different players on the scoresheet.

Last Meeting

Everton 0-1 Sunderland, 26 December 2013

It was a tale of two goalkeepers on Boxing Day as Everton's quest to go an entire calendar year unbeaten at home fell at the second to last hurdle.  

The unfortunate Tim Howard was sent off just 23 minutes in after tripping midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng, allowing the South Korean to give his side a crucial lead from the spot.

Howard Sent OffGoalkeeper Tim Howard saw red after just 23 minutes of the Boxing Day clash at Goodison Park.

Despite their man disadvantage, Roberto Martinez's charges threw caution to the wind after the break - only to be thwarted time and again by an inspired Vito Mannone.

Prior to that, last season's trip to the Stadium of Light also ended in a 1-0 reverse - though the Blues had gone 19 without defeat against the Black Cats before that day.

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