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

Boss Keeps Things Fresh

by Rob Urbani @efc_roburbani

Roberto Martinez is ready to shuffle his pack to ensure his squad remains fresh over the festive period.

 

The Blues have four Premier League games to contend with in 10 days - beginning with Sunday's trip to Swansea's Liberty Stadium.

 

It is a hectic schedule, but one the manager is confident his squad is prepared form.

 

: "You need to use the whole squad over Christmas and you need to make sure you have fresh players in every game. You can't take any game for granted and it has been shown so far that every game can be very different and you need to be able to perform and when you play so many games in so many days it is a big test. But we've been working towards this period and I'm sure we are going to be fine to be able to perform.evertonfc.comHe told 

 

"I think it is quite easy nowadays to know when to bring players in or to give players a rest. We get inundated with data and it is about using that data in the right way and knowing the players. When you have so much information, it is easier to call when a player may be getting fatigued or towards a risk of injury.

 

"In that respect, sports science and all the data we receive does play a big part. But I also feel the subjective opinion is sometimes as good as any data you can get. What is important is that the players feel fresh - mental fatigue is the most important issue to overcome. But the players want to play because they are enjoying their football. That is something that is a real advantage for me as a manager when needing to make those decisions.

 

"We hope we can improve what we have done in the last five months of competition. It is fair to say we have been reaching pretty good levels but if you ask any fan or player, they will tell you we have picked up the points we deserve and probably dropped points we deserved to pick up. That is an exciting challenge that we have because we want to fulfill the potential of the squad.

 

"It is true that Christmas is going to be a really challenging period. But I do feel we have got everybody in the right frame of mind and condition for the Christmas period.

 

"Even the FA Cup competition is going ot be a really good opportunity to test our squad and be as strong as we can be - and that could take us into a stronger level for the league competition."

 

After the trip to Swansea Everton face back-to-back Premier League fixtures against Sunderland and Southampton before a New Year's Day trip to Stoke and an FA Cup third round tie at Goodison Park against Championship high-flyers QPR.

 

Arouna Kone, Darron Gibson and Gerard Deulofeu are the only first-team players sidelined as the Blues head into the Christmas period – with Leighton Baines nearing a return to action and Tony Hibbert close to resuming training following a groin problem.

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