FC Krasnodar v Everton
(LIVE SETANTA IRE 5.0)
ROBERTO Martinez has wrapped James McCarthy in cotton wool and avoided any risk that he might aggravate tight muscles in Europa League action against FC Krasnodar tonight.
The news that McCarthy and Séamus Coleman are both sitting at home must have sent a shiver of apprehension down Ireland boss Martin O'Neill's spine.
McCarthy reported tight quad muscles after Everton's derby draw with Liverpool at the weekend but for once, Martinez's wishes coincide with that of an Ireland international manager.
Martinez clashed with Giovanni Trapattoni over McCarthy's availability on a number of occasions while he was Wigan boss but on this occasion, he clearly feels that the player is better back in England taking it easy than flogging himself in Eastern Europe.
"He has played a lot of football and he is feeling a bit fatigued," said Martinez. "It's not a real injury and I am not concerned by that.
"Séamus Coleman had concussion against Wolfsburg but then he suffered a little bit of a soft tissue problem. I don't think it will be too long (before he is fully fit). The international break should clear those injuries," said Martinez.
Both McCarthy and Coleman must prove their fitness in time for Everton's big Premier League clash with Manchester United on Sunday before they link up with Ireland in Dublin on Tuesday to prepare for Euro qualifiers against Gibraltar and Germany.
"Séamus and McCarthy have a chance with the Irish squad," he said. "James is a difficult one because of the games he's played. We will know more on Sunday but I have a very good relationship with the Irish association," claimed the Everton boss.
"Séamus could make Sunday, but it is early now to make a decision. James is similar; he finished against Liverpool very tired and cramping up, which might be a sign of a small injury."
It seems very obvious that Martinez, sees a clash with Manchester United as his main priority and with that in mind he has also rested other key men for tonight's game in Russia, including Sylvain Distin (rested) and Steven Pienaar (quad), two others missing from the travelling party.
Ross Barkley (knee) and Arouna Kone, recently back involved after a long-term knee injury, are also absentees.
Winger Kevin Mirallas is facing "a while" on the sidelines due to his hamstring injury.
Mirallas sustained the problem at Anfield, the Belgium international having to come off in the first half of the Premier League contest.
Martinez had already admitted the signs were "not great" with regard to the problem as Everton waited to learn the full extent of it.
"At the moment it is still a bit early because the inflammation in the area doesn't allow us to get the full extent.
"But clearly it is an injury that will keep him out for a while," said Martinez.
In terms of those who are included, Martinez has selected a trio of youngsters in Tyias Browning, Luke Garbutt and Ryan Ledson, while in Samuel Eto'o and Aiden McGeady, he has two players in the group who have experience of playing for Russian clubs - Anzhi Makhachkala and Spartak Moscow respectively.
Martinez admits he has tried to utilise the pair's knowledge: "It helps that Samuel Eto'o and Aiden McGeady have played in the league. It gives you a bit of an understanding of what you will face."