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Martinez expects tough Palace test

Everton manager Roberto Martinez is expecting a difficult game against Crystal Palace as his side push to secure fourth place.

Martinez’s men host Palace at Goodison Park on Wednesday as Everton aim to earn a UEFA Champions League berth for the first time since 2005, when they were knocked out before the group stages.

The Merseyside club leapfrogged Arsenal into fourth with a 1-0 win at Sunderland on Saturday, although Arsene Wenger’s charges can regain that place and put the pressure on Everton by beating West Ham on Tuesday.

Everton will be heavy favourites to take all three points against relegation-threatened Palace, having reached 66 points – their highest ever Premier League tally – and made it seven league wins in a row at Sunderland.

Martinez’s team can secure a 10th straight home win in all competitions with success against Palace but, while the Spaniard is relishing the atmosphere at Goodison Park, he is wary of a visiting side who head into the game on the back of three consecutive victories.

“I’m excited about it,” Martinez told Evertontv. “The welcome the players are going to have in front of our fans is going to be special.

“We’ve got the highest Premier League points tally in the club’s history and I think the players deserve that sort of welcome.

“It’s going to be a really difficult game and we need to be well rested and well prepared.

“And we need that support, because Crystal Palace are one of the toughest sides in the division in terms of their defensive focus and how good they are in their defensive intensity.”

Mon 14 April, 2014
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