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Kone Set To Face Rovers

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Arouna Kone is in line to make his first appearance for Everton this Saturday after Roberto Martinez revealed that the striker has a ‘good opportunity’ to feature against Blackburn Rovers.

The Ivory Coast striker was named in the matchday squad for last week’s 4-1 friendly victory at Accrington Stanley but was restricted to a watching brief after Blues boss Martinez opted not to introduce him from the substitutes’ bench.

The Spaniard also confirmed the international players who had an extended summer break are likely to play some part at Ewood Park.

Of those who were given extra off-season rest, only Seamus Coleman played against Accrington.

“Arouna Kone is probably the one who the fans haven’t seen yet and he’s got a good opportunity to be involved on Saturday,” Martinez told evertontv.

“He arrived at the same time as Johnny Heitinga, Nikica Jelavic and Seamus Coleman and all four have got a great opportunity to be involved on Saturday.”

On-loan Gerard Deulofeu is less likely to feature against Rovers.

Martinez added: "Gerard Deulofeu arrived yesterday (Thursday) and it will be very difficult for him to be involved against Blackburn.

"I would say the Juventus game is more realistic for Gerard. He had his first session yesterday. He is a young man so has the ability to be introduced into the group quicker than older players would. But the US Tour is probably more realistic for Gerard."

Blackburn head into the weekend friendly having already fulfilled five pre-season fixtures, most recently playing out a 1-1 draw with Lancashire neighbours Preston North End on Tuesday evening.

The 1995 Premier League winners begin their Championship season next Sunday against Derby County.

Martinez added: “It is a very good exercise for us, they’ve got a lot of players and are in a similar position to us where they are working towards the start of the season.

“Ewood Park is always a terrific playing surface and that’s going to make it a very good exercise for both sides.

“We hope for a day with no injuries and a real success for the targets of both clubs.”

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