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Southampton (A) Sat 20 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Kone Out Of Spurs Clash

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

Everton boss Roberto Martinez will be without Arouna Kone for the visit of Tottenham Hotspur after the striker suffered a setback in his recovery from a knee injury.

Dutch defender John Heitinga has returned to training following a muscle complaint however, meaning Antolin Alcaraz (hamstring) and Darron Gibson (knee) are the Spaniard's only other absentees.

Ivory Coast international Kone over-extended his knee after coming off the bench during last month's 2-1 win over Hull City and Martinez confessed the problem is worse than originally thought.

"We are a little bit worried about the knock that Arouna Kone picked up against Hull City," he said on Friday. "We had a bit of a setback. It's a little bit more serious than we first expected, so he won't be available for the squad.

"It [the severity of the injury] is something we need to find out over the next few days. We'll do a few tests and see how his knee is reacting."

Martinez also revealed how Gibson has been in good spirits following surgery on his ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, while fit-again full-back Tony Hibbert is impressing in his search for full match fitness.

"Darron Gibson has had a very good week straight after surgery, so it's been a real positive week and he's already on the road to recovery," said the Blues boss. "Tony is getting ready. He had 90 minutes in a practice game on Tuesday and that was a real positive. He's getting stronger in training and his experience is a real need for us to have him in the squad.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing him fulfil his fitness levels and then making sure he is available.

"He's been a really important player to have around, it's great to have him fully fit again and he's going to have a massive role this season."

Tickets for Sunday's game are still available. To buy, click here or call 0871 663 1878*.

Alternatively, visit the Park End box office at Goodison Park, Everton Two in Liverpool One or TicketQuarter in Queen Square.

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