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Everton are still on something on a high after Phil Jagielka's last gasp equaliser in the Merseyside derby against Liverpool, but now they must turn their attention to Thursday's trip to Russia to face FC Krasnodar. The Toffees have two players who have already played in Russia before - Samuel Eto'o, formerly of Anzhi Makhachkala and ex-Spartak Moscow winger Aiden McGeady - and manager Roberto Martinez admitted that he has spoken to both players for some insight on their opponents.
"Of course we’ve spoken to them. Samuel played for Anzhi and Aiden played for Spartak and they have told us that although it’s quite a new league they are at a good level and there is a lot of investment," said the Spaniard. "It’s good to have that first hand experience. Everything else is on paper or on video but to get that live feeling is great and they’ve been influential on that."
However, the Toffees have already been dealt a blow as midfielder James McCarthy won't be travelling to Russia with the rest of the team after Martinez admitted that the Irish international has suffered an injury, meaning he will stay at Finch Farm to recuperate ahead of this weekend's clash with Manchester United.
"James is not in the squad but shouldn’t be too far away from being fully fit. I would say there is a question mark over the weekend, but it will not be any later than after the international break (next weekend)," said Martinez. "He has just tightened up his quads. He has had a lot of football of late and he was feeling a little bit of fatigue. It is not a real injury, so we are no concerned about that one at all."
McCarthy's absence means that Bosnian World Cup star Muhamed Besic could start the game, and Martinez was full of praise for the midfielder who he snapped up from Hungarian side Ferencvaros this summer.
"Nothing fazes him," Martinez told the Liverpool Echo. "It's easy to forget he only turned 22 this month but he is a very mentally strong player with a lot of belief in himself. Mo has a big-game mentality and he's very focused. He has everything to suggest he can go on and become a big player for us."
"Against Liverpool I thought he was very controlled and not overwhelmed by the occasion in any way. For him it’s the bigger the game, the better. This is a young man who rose to the occasion at the World Cup when he was playing in the Maracana Stadium for his country in a high-profile game against Argentina. The players know they can trust him and rely on him and he has fitted very well into the squad," he added.