Football: Everton all set for 'fearless' Burnley

Football: Everton all set for 'fearless' Burnley

LIVERPOOL - Everton manager Roberto Martinez has told his players to steel themselves for the challenge of facing a "fearless" Burnley at Goodison Park on Saturday.

The Toffees have eased any lingering concerns about relegation in recent weeks, but Burnley are still fighting for their Premier League survival.

While other teams scrapping at the foot of the table have played tentatively, Martinez believes second-from-bottom Burnley's predicament makes them tougher opponents.

"I don't think there is a 'fear' of relegation for Burnley," Martinez said. "And that is a big advantage against other teams who may not quite be in the relegation zone but have something to lose.

"The biggest threat that Burnley carry is they play with a real enthusiasm and enjoyment. They see an opportunity to achieve their aim of survival.

"In their last game against Arsenal they showed that. They only lost by one goal, they had a very good draw against Spurs and they beat Manchester City - so the last few games at home they have been really strong.

"Away from home, I think they are capable of hurting any team. They were unfortunate against Southampton where they had three or four terrific chances." The Spaniard added: "Looking at this game, it will be one which is open with both teams creating chances and it will be about who takes theirs early and gets ahead." Everton are poised to include Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku in their squad after he missed the last two games with a hamstring problem.

"Rom has trained really well," Martinez said, adding he'd no plans to rest the 18-goal Lukaku between now and the end of the campaign.

"It's not in his nature," the manager said. "If I am completely honest, I think he has been suffering a lot in the last seven to 10 days that he has been away from the team.

"Someone like Rom needs to be on the football pitch. He is only 21 and I don't think there is any need for that a rest at all." Everton will give a late fitness test to midfielder Leon Osman (groin) and winger Aiden McGeady (back) but have no other fresh injury worries.

Play with a smile

Meanwhile Burnley manager Sean Dyche believes Danny Ings needs to start smiling again to rediscover his goalscoring touch.

The Clarets have not scored in their last three games while Ings's own mini-drought stretches back to a 3-1 loss away to Manchester United in February.

"When that whistle blows it's down to them to remind themselves of that freedom I speak about. I want players to play that way," said Dyche.

"Danny's biggest thing is he puts a lot of demand on himself - and that can be a weakness as well as a strength. It's good that he has thirst to improve, as do a lot of the players.

"But it has to be balanced with that enjoyment. I often say to him, 'play with a smile' and I've told him he's best when he does.

"We're looking to him to continue doing that." Dyche has no fresh injury worries ahead of Burnley's short trip to Goodison and he insisted the pressure was off his players because nobody expected Burnley to have a fighting chance of survival at this stage.

"We're not cut adrift and people thought we might be," said Dyche, with the Clarets heading into the weekend just two points from safety.

"That's a good stimulus for us to move it forward. With the collective mind-set going into these last games we've got to this point where we've learnt a lot and now it's putting it all together."

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