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Stoke City (H) Fri 26 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Martinez Keeping Fingers Crossed

@Everton

Roberto Martinez is keeping his fingers crossed that Everton’s international stars return unscathed from the upcoming set of friendlies with the Merseyside derby approaching on the horizon.

Tickets for the first meeting of the season against neighbours Liverpool at Goodison Park sold out last month and Martinez is hopeful he will have no fresh injuries to contend with when the Blues squad regroup.

Ross Barkley, Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Romelu Lukaku, Kevin Mirallas, Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy are among those who will link-up with their national teams for the latest round of fixtures that are taking place over the next fortnight.

“All the international breaks are frustrating moments,” Martinez told evertontv following the Blues’ goalless draw at Crystal Palace.

“Yes, you enjoy seeing the players representing their nations but we have such an important game coming up at home and we are all going to be keeping our fingers crossed that everything goes well and we don’t pick up any injuries because we want to prepare for the game in the right manner.

“They [international breaks] happen time after time and we have to just accept it. But in many ways we will try and use it to our benefit.

“The players that are left behind, we are going to work with them to get them ready physically for the next third of the competition.”

All seats may have been snapped-up for the derby – but tickets are still available for the home meeting with Stoke City on Saturday 30th November.

Visit the box office, Everton Two or the Ticket Quarter, call 0871 663 1878* or click here to buy online. For information and to book Corporate Hospitality online, click here

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