Everton sweat over fitness of key trio ahead of FA Cup semis

Sports Friday 22/April/2016 16:04 PM
By: Times News Service
Everton sweat over fitness of key trio ahead of FA Cup semis

London: Influential Everton trio Phil Jagielka, John Stones and Gareth Barry are all doubtful for Saturday's FA Cup semifinal against Manchester United at Wembley, while right-back Seamus Coleman will definitely miss the clash, manager Roberto Martinez said.
Barry and Stones picked up their injury problems in Wednesday's 4-0 Premier League drubbing at the hands of Merseyside rivals Liverpool, while captain Jagielka has not featured since he hurt his hamstring on April 9.
"Seamus Coleman will be missing. Late fitness test for Gareth Barry. John Stones is positive. Rest of the squad fine," Martinez told reporters on Friday.
"Knowing Phil he is desperate to play but we are not going to say no and we are going to [look at] his feelings rather than the injury."
With defender Ramiro Funes Mori suspended for the semi-final, having picked up a red card against Liverpool, Martinez is currently left with only left-back Leighton Baines as senior defender.
Everton need to avoid putting too much pressure on themselves and remain focussed, Stones has said amid calls for Martinez to step down.
With Everton failing to win any of their last six games, however, Martinez has lost the trust of supporters. He hopes to win them back by ending the club's 20-year wait for a trophy with victory in the FA Cup.
Stones said the FA Cup offers Everton a chance of redemption while admitting that the team have struggled in the Premier League this season, as they sit 11th with four games left.
"We need to go there, not put too much pressure on ourselves and play our football ... It's been a tough season for everyone at Everton," Stones told British media.
"We've been trying to progress and improve as a team and the FA Cup has seen us produce some of the best form of our season. We've turned up in big games and Saturday's game will be another big one.
"As a team, we'll be up for it and we know we will have to be focussed, not looking past it. We've got to look to the game and play the kind of football we know we can," Stones added.
Crystal Palace play Watford in the second semi-final at Wembley on Sunday with the final taking place at the same venue on May 21.