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

Boss Itching For Derby Experience

by Hamish Dufton @efchamishdufton

Roberto Martinez has only been on at Everton for a short while but already he has sensed the Merseyside Derby is something special.

The 221st meeting of these two historic clubs is only a week away and Martinez is relishing the prospect of experiencing the rivalry for the first time when the Reds travel to Goodison on Saturday.

Already a hotly-anticipated fixture, the fact Martinez was approached by Liverpool only to stay at Wigan before subsequently opting to later head to Everton only adds spice to the occasion.

But the Spaniard recognises that that has just added to a unique contest in British football. “It’s such an exciting fixture,” he said.

“You can tell it’s got a special feel about it and especially now that both teams are in very good positions after strong starts to the season.

“So, it’s going to be a good fixture – an important fixture. But, I think more importantly, a real football celebration of how well the two teams have started so far.

“It’s an exciting fixture in the football calendar, never mind just in Liverpool. So, there’s been a lot of talk, a lot of stories mentioned around the derbies, so I’m really, really looking forward to seeing Goodison in such an exciting fixture.”

Martinez says it’s the history behind the fixture that sets it apart from other rivalries, while the similarities in playing style should make for an enthralling contest. “From my point of view, it’s the most exciting one for the history that is surrounding the game and the passion of the fans,” he added.

“It makes it a really, really important game. I think the two teams are now sharing a similar football style, which is going to make it a really fascinating game of football. I think from every single angle you want to measure a derby game; this one could be as good as any if you are looking throughout the football world.

“So, you can imagine the ingredients are there and I think the quality that the two squads are bringing to the game is going to make it a special football game.”

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