Everton are facing a crucial period between now and the end of the year.

Manchester United travel to Goodison Park on Wednesday, with a spot in the EFL Cup semi-finals on the line.

Then a frantic spell of Premier League action lies in wait, with Everton now up to fourth after three big wins in a week.

We spoke exclusively to former Toffees goalkeeper Nigel Martyn about the forthcoming run, and whether players will be rested in midweek to prepare for the hectic league schedule.

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“With the quarter-final and so many games coming up, there will be opportunities for fringe players, I think,” said Martyn. “Maybe not defensively, there’s aren’t many fit.

“But there might be a change up front. Both teams will look to rest players, they have to. There’s so many games. You want to try and give players a rest.

“That’s Carlo’s job, where is his priority? Getting back to fourth in the league and there’s a chance of Champions League, does that become your priority?

“If it does, you then rest players (in midweek) ahead of Sheffield United and Man City.”

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“You rest your players for that, definitely. On the flip side of that, there hasn’t been silverware at Everton for a long time and if you’re the manager who delivers that, that’s your immortality,” he continued.

“It will be a strong team. The one I don’t know is I don’t know if he’ll start with Calvert-Lewin. You’ve almost got to rest him and hope that Cenk Tosun or whoever plays does it for him.

“That’s the one area. Your stronger squad players, there will probably be three or four of those.

“Defensively it’ll be a strong team. It is an important game, but he has to make one or two changes because of the amount of games. A game of that importance has come at the wrong time of year, really.”

As Martyn eludes to, the timing of such a big knockout game isn’t ideal, so close to the busy Christmas period.

But it remains a huge game and if United make changes, there could be a major opportunity for Everton to progress into the last four.

It’s a big call for Ancelotti – and resting Calvert-Lewin would be as well – so it will be interesting to see what he decides to do.

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