Roberto Martinez insists Romelu Lukaku’s lack of goals is not a concern as he prepares to take his Everton side to West Brom in the Premier League on Monday.
The Belgium international, who spent the 2012-13 season on loan at The Hawthorns, has not scored in the top flight since netting a brace at Southampton on August 15 – his only league goals of the season so far.
But despite seeing his side held to a goalless draw at Swansea City last time out in the league, Martinez is not panicked by his star striker’s mini drought.
“Rom has started the season really well, as has Ross [Barkley] and all the players that were involved in the World Cup two summers ago,” he told Everton’s official website.
“They had a really good break this time, were able to work with the team for a full pre-season and that allows a footballer to be ready.
“Rom, as with any striker, goes through good moments in front of goal and tough moments, but that doesn’t change the enormous role he has in our team and how important he is for us.
“I’m very pleased with where he is and the next group of fixtures that he could have an impact on.”
Lukaku opened the scoring after two minutes as Everton claimed a 2-0 victory at The Hawthorns last season and West Brom head coach Tony Pulis will be keen to see his players show better resistance this time around.
Having tinkered with his starting XI for the 3-0 League Cup defeat at Norwich City in midweek, Pulis is set to bring the likes of new signing Jonny Evans back into the fold, and captain Darren Fletcher is in no doubt as to the Northern Irishman’s quality.
“We had two world class centre halves at Manchester United in Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand yet Jonny went toe to toe with them for a number of years,” Fletcher told Albion’s official website.
“He is a real top-class player, he’s a good talker, a good leader and one of the best defenders in the league – he merely suffered with injuries at United.
“He’s played two games for us and been excellent. He’s not even fully fit yet – when he is we will have one of the best defenders in the Premier League.”
While West Brom look set to be boosted at the back, Everton could be without John Stones after the defender was forced off with a knee injury during Tuesday’s League Cup win over Reading.
His absence could see Ramiro Funes Mori make his first start in an Everton shirt, while Seamus Coleman (hamstring) also faces a late fitness test.
Kevin Mirallas is suspended after he became the fourth player this season to see red against Swansea.