Sunday 11 December 2016

Injury woes for Everton

Published 15/04/2016 | 10:36

Romelu Lukaku, centre, Ross Barkley, left, and Phil Jagielka could all miss out against Southampton on Saturday
Romelu Lukaku, centre, Ross Barkley, left, and Phil Jagielka could all miss out against Southampton on Saturday

Everton may be without seven first-team players including Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley as they look to remedy their poor home form against Southampton.

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Only bottom-of-the-table Aston Villa have fewer points than the Toffees when playing in their own stadium this season as just 16 of their total haul of 40 points have come at Goodison Park.

They will attempt to record just a fifth home win in the Barclays Premier League this term against Saints on Saturday with a squad that has been stretched by injuries and suspension.

Phil Jagielka and Tom Cleverley are not yet ready to return, while James McCarthy is suspended following his dismissal against Crystal Palace in a game that saw Leighton Baines, Aaron Lennon, Barkley and Lukaku all pick up knocks.

"Leighton Baines, Aaron Lennon and Ross Barkley will be assessed; they picked up some knocks against Crystal Palace," manager Roberto Martinez said.

"Obviously James McCarthy will be missing. Romelu Lukaku has been carrying a little bit of a problem, we're going to assess him today if he can make the squad or not.

"In the Crystal Palace game he stretched for an action in the second half and he felt his groin slightly. He didn't train yesterday and we're hoping he can train today and we'll assess him from there.

"I don't think any of those is a long-term injury, they are more the effect of a big amount of games in this period and it's probably a question of hours rather than weeks."

Everton's most recent home game saw them defeated 2-0 by Arsenal and the hosts produced a performance their manager termed "fearful".

It was an eighth reverse of the campaign for the Toffees at Goodison Park and Martinez knows that if their away form matched their results at home, they would be a lot higher up the table than 12th.

"We haven't been able to celebrate enough victories in front of our own crowd; that's been a real disappointment this season," Martinez admitted.

"There are contrasting results, I wouldn't say performances - I think at times we've had performances that have been good enough to get positive results.

"You are looking at two defeats in 16 away from home that's as good as we've been. Our first away game was against Southampton in that 3-0 victory, from that point on our performances away from home have been really, really strong. That's what we wanted. That's an away record that would be top four.

"At home it's totally contrasting - eight defeats is nowhere near good enough, that's where you build your season on the strength of the results at home. That's a contrasting story that is very, very difficult to explain."

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