Premier League Preview: Everton v Fulham
By Football News
Roberto Martinez has warned his in-form Everton side not to take Fulham lightly in Saturday's Premier League encounter at Goodison Park.
The Merseyside club followed up their first win at Manchester United for 21 years by holding Premier League leaders Arsenal to a 1-1 draw at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Martinez's men have had praise ringing in their ears due to their attractive brand of football under the Spaniard.
Fifth-placed Everton boast an unbeaten home record and put Stoke City to the sword last time out at Goodison Park as Mark Hughes' men were beaten 4-0.
But Martinez expects Fulham to be a different proposition under Rene Mulensteen, who secured his first win since replacing Martin Jol against Aston Villa on Monday night.
The former Wigan manager said: "We are so excited about performances we've had so far, the upcoming fixture (against Fulham) is vital for us now, that’s the only focus we should have as a football club. To have a full Goodison Park is always a good advantage.
"We have created a very consistent level throughout the season, to be halfway through with one defeat shows we are carrying momentum but Fulham are different in the way they approach the game, they have been galvanised by Rene Mulensteen.
"He's someone who is an innovative coach, he has incredible experience of the British game, and has always brought different approaches and angles (to training). I do feel that he's someone who can bring a lot to Fulham, we'll have to be at our best to compete.
"It’s a big ask to maintain a top-four challenge, but Saturday is only thing that matters, we've been on a real high and it is difficult to maintain standards and play a game where expectation is high.
"It (playing Manchester United and Arsenal) was a real test and I think we passed it with flying colours, which gives us inner belief and inner strength."
Everton midfielder James McCarthy serves a one-match ban, so Leon Osman is set to start.
Leighton Baines (toe), Tony Hibbert, Darron Gibson, and Arouna Kone (all knee) are ruled out, but Antolín Alcaraz (hamstring) is in contention to make his debut.
Fulham beat Everton in the League Cup in September, but they have a dismal record at Goodison Park.
The Craven Cottage club have lost each of their last 10 games at Everton and could do with ending that terrible run as they attempt to climb out of the bottom three.
Captain Brede Hangeland (back), Hugo Rodallega (groin), will play no part and Fulham have injury concerns over Darren Bent (hamstring), Fernando Amorebieta (hamstring) and Matt Briggs (groin).