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

by Daniel Alston @efc_danalston

Leighton Baines says Everton are about to embark on their most important week of pre-season - starting with Saturday's final friendly against SC Paderborn.

The Blues take on the German side at the Benteler Arena at 3pm UK time in a game live on evertontv. Click here for details.

Roberto Martinez has confirmed Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas will both sit out the contest following an extended break as a result of their World Cup exertions.

But with the numbers at Finch Farm bolstered by this week's return of the Belgian duo, Baines is looking forward to the group reaching peak fitness in time for the Premier League opener at Leicester City a week today.

"We've all come back at different times so everyone's been at different levels," he told evertontv.

"Over this next week is when things start to level out and we'll all be ready to go.

"Rom and Kevin have just returned and they're doing their own bit separately in order to get up to speed having also had a good break.

"For others, it's always a good milestone in pre-season to get out on the pitch - that's when it feels you're back officially.

"When you're running up the side of a pitch it's not as much fun as getting on it to play.

"We're looking forward to the game against Paderborn and know that it will mean we're one step closer to being prepared for Leicester."

Watch all the action from Germany live on evertontv (3pm kick-off UK time) for just £3.99. Purchasers also gain access to the full match on demand and exclusive highlight packages soon after the game.

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