Everton latest: Striker crisis threatens top four bid, but Deulofeu to stay?

All the latest news, views and transfer rumours from Goodison Park...

Everton are back in Premier League action tonight as they take on Crystal Palace, but manager Roberto Martinez is still cursing a striker shortage that troubled his side against Tottenham on Sunday. On-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku and Arouna Kone are both still out injured, and having sold Nikica Jelavic to Hull in the January transfer window, Martinez is down to the bare bones up top.

Steven Naismith or Kevin Mirallas could be asked to fill in despite neither of them being a recognised centre forward, but new loan signing Lacina Traore could feature from the bench as his fitness levels continue to increase following a move from Anzhi Makhachkala via AS Monaco.

With Everton's Champions League qualification hopes hanging in the balance, a win over the Eagles is imperative tonight, and Martinez has acknowledged that Palace are a tough side to break under new manager Tony Pulis, and that the Toffees will have to show style and composure in order to claim three points tonight.

They are always hard to break down and have got terrific defensive qualities and can hit you on the counter with their pace and talent at their disposal.” said Martinez. “At deadball situations, Tony Pulis has always been a specialist, so it’s a matter of being well aware and concentrating on what we are good at. ”

We need to carry on doing what we have done at home this season because we have adapted really well when facing different opposition. We’ve had to break many teams down this season and we have done it with style and composure.

"That will be needed on Wednesday night. It will be a completely different game to the one at White Hart Lane but similar to the ones we have faced at home, like Stoke and Norwich, who set out to be hard to beat and hard to break down.”

Some great news for Everton moving forward is that, according to Spanish media, winger Gerard Deulofeu will stay at Goodison Park for another season as Barcelona look to extend his loan deal. The 19-year-old has impressed on Merseyside this season, and the Catalan giants are suitably happy with his development under Martinez, and will subsequently allow the Spanish Under-21 international to stay with the club for a further season.

image: © Jon Candy

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