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Everton visit Stevenage in the FA Cup 4th Round: Match Preview

It's FA Cup time again, and a tricky but not difficult trip to Stevenage for a game being shown on live TV in the UK.

Stu Forster

Everton shouldn't have anything to fear from a plucky team from League One, but the truth is that the conditions will not be conducive to the type of game that Roberto Martinez is committed to playing, and also that we have a truly appalling record in the cup since we last won it in 1995.

Team News

Injuries, and lots of them. That's the basic news. Alongside the season long injuries we now have Seamus Coleman and Steven Pienaar to add to the list, although there is an outside chance that the South African will be fit. Youngsters Ross Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu are still both set to miss out, and new signing Lacina Traore will not have the correct paperwork, or be fit enough, in time. There's also the issue of Romelu Lukaku's form and the possibility of resting him, with maybe Kevin Mirallas being pushed further forward. I would expect to see more of Aiden McGeady this week too, he showed enough in his short appearance on Monday to show he brings something different.

Keys to the game

Well first will be the state of the pitch. The Stevenage manager Graham Westley has promised us an interesting visit and one the players will not forget. If the team can keep focus and adjust to the condition quickly then it should be a straightforward game. But we all know it won't be like that.

The two centre back positions will be key, with Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin still feeling their way back after injury, the heavy pitch may take it's toll, and also the direct football of the home team.

At the opposite end of the pitch it will be interesting to see how Lukaku deals with the agricultural defending of the League One team, and whether Mirallas hides away, as he can sometimes do against more physical teams.

Match Facts

Everton and Stevenage had never met in a formal game before the League Cup meeting in September 2013.

Best performances in the FA Cup: Everton - winners 9 times / Stevenage - 5th Round in 2012

Stevenage are currently in 24th place in League One

Everton are currently in 6th place in the Premier League