Everton latest: Martinez denies Liverpool's £38m Barkley bid

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Everton's assault on the top four is back on the agenda tomorrow night as they take on Crystal Palace at Goodison Park, with a win imperative if Roberto Martinez's side are to remain in the Champions League places. Martinez will be busy preparing for the visit of the Eagles, but took time to praise Palace boss Tony Pulis for the remarkable turnaround at Selhurst Park since his arrival.

"It comes with his experience," said Martinez. "He's accumulated a very strong method of working. You can see how hard the team works and how well organised they are and the defensive set-up is impressive."

"We know what to expect, and the biggest compliment I can pay to Tony Pulis is that, even though you know what to expect, it's very difficult to compete against it."

The Toffees have continued to win regularly despite the absence of captain Phil Jagielka, but even with youngster John Stones impressing alongside Sylvain Distin, Martinez says he is looking forward to Jagielka's return, which should be sooner rather than later.

"Phil is our club captain and as soon as he is ready he is straight back in the team. We need him immensely in that respect. He is very much influential even when he hasn't been on the pitch," said Martinez.

"He has always had the real presence in the dressing room. He has always had that word of advice and wise words towards young players in the squad. He is our club captain and I want him back as soon as we can really," he added.

Meanwhile, midfielder Ross Barkley continues to impress under Martinez, which has unsurprisingly led to admiring glances from elsewhere, but one surprise team was linked today - city rivals Liverpool. A £38m bid was speculated, but Martinez instantly poured cold water on the rumour.

“In terms of speculation, we already turned down a £50m bid from (Manchester) United so we’re not going to take £38m from Liverpool. It’s quite enjoyable to speak about speculation because it shows how well our players are doing. That’s the type of football compliments we want," said Martinez.

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