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

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Roberto Martinez says Lacina Traore will play a part in Wednesday’s game against Crystal Palace but is unlikely to start the game.

Traore was an unused substitute at Spurs on Sunday having only just recovered from a hamstring problem.

He is nearing a Blues debut but Martinez is treating his new acquisition carefully.

Romelu Lukaku is recovering well from his ankle problem but is set to be out for another week, but Antolin Alcaraz is fit again.

It means that aside from the Belgian striker, Everton’s only absentees for the visit of the Eagles will be Bryan Oviedo, Arouna Kone and Darron Gibson.

Martinez said of Traore at his Monday media conference: “He is progressing really well. I didn’t expect him to be available just yet but he is. It’s just a case of getting him that match fitness to avoid any sort of risk. He is not far off. I think he will be involved somehow but I don’t think he’s ready to play 90 minutes yet.”

Lukaku had been recovering in Belgium but is now back on Merseyside and zeroing in on a return. Ironically he may be fit for a game he can’t play in, when Everton visit Chelsea on 22 February.

Martinez added: “We have had real positive news on Romelu, he is back with us and is going to be ready very soon, if it’s not this weekend it will be next weekend. he has come back refreshed and desperate to enjoy his football once more.

“Antolin is training with the group and should be fully fit for the West Ham game.”

To reserve your seat for Everton v Crystal Palace click here or call 0871 663 1878*. Alternatively, visit the Park End Box Office, Everton Two in Liverpool One or TicketQuarter in Queen Square. 

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