Martinez confident Everton have solved riddle surrounding McCarthy

Everton boss Roberto Martinez gave updates on a number of players ahead of the game against Manchester City.

Everton boss Roberto Martinez has confirmed it will be more of the same in terms of his playing squad this weekend for the game against Manchester City.

The boss sat down for his normal pre-weekend press conference and revealed there will be only two changes to his team with Sylvain Distin out of action while Antolin Alcaraz returns from suspension.

The boss also gave an update on the progress of injured stars Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar, Tony Hibbert and Darron Gibson, who are all on track with their recoveries though won’t feature this weekend.

Martinez is also backing midfielder James McCarthy to return to his best form in what he described as a “strong way.”

“We think we’ve gotten to the bottom of James’ injury and this can help the rest of his career,” he said.

“We need to make sure James is fully recovered and then he can enjoy his football once again.”

The trick for Everton is building on their late equaliser against West Ham and Martinez has praised his side’s performance, as they earned a replay against the East Londoners.

“We showed a desire to succeed and not accepting defeat [against West Ham]. It was strong character,” said the Spaniard.

“Questions being asked from the outside have made us even stronger, if anything.”

“We hope we can now go on a run of good performances and results.”

Everton will head into the game this weekend as the underdogs, with City looking to get ahead of Chelsea in the Premier League title race for the first time this season.

The manager says it’s an opportunity for his team to produce a responsible and professional display in front of a home crowd, which hasn’t always been treated to good results this season.

“City is a game where we need to take responsibility at home after bad results.”

“Our games against City have been interesting for one reason or other. The margin has always been quite small.”

There was also some praise from Martinez for midfielder Ross Barkley, who has come in for criticism at times this season for failing to produce his best form.

Martinez defended the England man, explaining how he’s developing as a player.

“Ross is evolving, becoming stronger and his tactical awareness is improving all the time.”

A win for the Toffees this weekend could move them up a place in the table and behind Stoke.

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch