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Jagielka 50/50, Pienaar Out

Captain could play this weekend but South African to miss out.

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Roberto Martinez says Phil Jagielka has a ‘50/50’ chance of playing against Swansea City but Steven Pienaar will definitely miss Saturday’s game at Goodison with a knee injury.

Jagielka has sat out the last three matches with a hamstring complaint and it is touch-and-go whether he will be fit for the weekend.

However, Pienaar is a certain absentee after Martinez revealed the South African has suffered a cartilage problem which could keep him out for the next ‘two to three weeks’.

Arouna Kone, Darron Gibson [both knee] and Bryan Oviedo [broken leg] are all continuing their recovery from long-term injuries, while it is hoped Lacina Traore will return from a hamstring injury before the end of the season.  

Martinez said: “Stevie has got a bit of a knock in his knee and that is going to take a bit of time. Phil Jagielka is 50/50 for the weekend.

“We have the same squad that we have for Cardiff.”

Pienaar limped off in the FA Cup defeat at Arsenal and Martinez says it is crucial that he is not rushed back so that he is fully fit for the final stretch of the season.

The Blues boss also echoed these comments when quizzed on Jagielka’s rehabilitation.

He added: “We're going to make sure he [Pienaar] gets the right treatment. I expect it to be two or three weeks and then we'll see how well he recovers.

“It's important he is back before the season ends because he's a vital player for us. We'll make sure he comes back as strong as he can be.

“Phil is our captain and in any situation you want him to be around the players and helping the team through an important part of the season.

“He is a true leader and we want him fit as soon as we can but he needs to be 100 per cent.”

Gerard Deulofeu filled the void left by Pienaar against Cardiff last weekend and marked the occasion with the game’s first goal.

The on-loan Spaniard was then replaced by Aiden McGeady who helped create Seamus Coleman’s winner.

Martinez continued: “Any injury is a blow, but in the same manner you saw how we reacted at the weekend. We're not the type of team who highlights the players who are missing; quite the opposite.

“When you have injured players, we need to make sure we give them the best possible treatment but it gives opportunity to someone else in the squad.
 
“I think that's been the biggest strength of our season. We haven't relied on 11 players being fit and performing well.

“We've relied on a squad that is ready to come on the pitch and that's been the case with whichever player has been injured.”

Tickets for Swansea's visit to Goodison Park this Saturday are still on sale. Click here to buy online now.

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