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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League

by Rob Urbani @efc_roburbani

Roberto Martinez has already earmarked his January targets as he plots a strong second half of the season for Everton.

The Goodison chief admits the long-term absence through injury of Darron Gibson and Arouna Kone will dictate his January priorities.

But he has not ruled out the prospect of finding those players from within the Club's youth ranks - having been impressed by the performance of the Under-21s so far this term.

He said: "We want to finish the season strongly and I do feel that Darron Gibson and Arouna Kone would have been players having a big say this season. We need to guard against losing a little form and if we could find two players that have the right personalities, that would be exactly what we need. If not, I have been very impressed with the way a few of the Under-21s have been performing and working, so we will have fresh legs, whatever happens.

"I have sat down with the chairman to discuss what we want. We are well prepared and we always work well in advance - and that meeting was done a while ago. Always my focus is to get the right personalities, it is not about the money you have. It is about identifying the right characters that can help the team. The worst thing you can do is bring in a name that disrupts the dressing room and what we are doing at the Club. It is not a window where there is a need to spend big money, it is a window where you can identify the right characters for the squad."

The manager is also relaxed about media speculation linking players with moves away from Goodison during the January transfer window.

He added: "When you are in a football club and you are in a position where you have to sell to balance the books then, yes, you don't want anyone to call you or anyone to make any offers.

"But we are in a different position. We don't have to sell any players and anything that will be done will be to benefit the squad and to get us into a stronger position. In that respect, I'm very relaxed. I want teams to take notice of our players because that is a very good sign that we are doing things well, but that will never put me in a position of difficulty. It is the opposite, it is what I want - to see the players developing, playing good football and attracting compliments."

Tickets for the Blues' forthcoming home games against Sunderland and Southampton are now limited availability. Click here to buy for either fixture - or Half Season Tickets, which start at just £50 for Under-11s.

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