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'We Have Outstanding Options'

Boss says squad has strength to cope with Kone's injury absence.

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Roberto Martinez believes his squad has the strength to cope with Arouna Kone’s long-term injury absence.

Martinez revealed at his pre-Crystal Palace media conference that he will spend the next two months assessing his options before deciding whether he will need to boost his forward line in January.

However, at present, the Spaniard feels there is enough attacking flexibility in his current group of players to compensate for the loss of Kone, whose cartilage problem is expected to keep him out for the majority of the season.

Martinez told evertontv: “We have still got two outstanding options in Romelu Lukaku and Nikica Jelavic. Both are players in a good moment of form and have been working really well.

“You look through the squad and we have other players who can play in that position. Steven Naismith has been playing in that role for his national side and Kevin Mirallas played that role with Olympiakos. We are not short in that position.

“Obviously you don’t want to lose Arouna Kone, in the same way that we didn’t want to lose Darron Gibson, but those things happen in football.

“All we want now is to give support to Arouna and Darron and get them back as quick as we can so that we make sure they have that aim to get back fully fit before the season ends. That’s what we are going to do as a football club.”

While Kone’s setback will inevitably present additional opportunities for members of his squad, Martinez stressed that players on the fringe of the first-team must earn their place first and foremost.

“Whatever you do on the training ground matters,” declared the manager. “I don’t think you need to have an injury to a player to give them an opportunity.

“I want to believe there will be opportunities for players in the squad, with or without injuries, if they do well and work well on a daily basis."

Tickets for Saturday's game have sold out - but free, live commentary will be available on evertonfc.com/listenlive from shortly before kick-off.

Danny LoguePlus Deuloffeu of course. What is Apostolos Vellios up to these days? I always thought he showed great potential. If he's not injured, I bet he's gutted to read this article.

Saturday 9th November 11:20 Report Comment
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