Everton are hoping to ride the momentum of Phil Jagielka's stoppage-time equalizer against Liverpool into a very tough Europa League match against Russian Premier League side FC Krasnodar. Thursday is the second match day of the Blues' Group H campaign. Everton won the first game against Wolfsburg at Goodison Park, 4-1.
Kevin Mirallas is the latest injury victim, suffering a hamstring injury against Liverpool. Roberto Martinez said that the prognosis is "not great", but he is awaiting further tests. Other injured Toffees include: Seamus Coleman, Sylvain Distin, and Steven Pienaar. It is still unclear if that trio will make the trip to Russia.
UPDATE: None of the three have made the trip, and both James McCarthy and Arouna Kone won't travel either. The squad that is available for selection, according to the Everton website: Joel, Howard, Garbutt, Stones, Browning, Alcaraz, Jagielka, Baines, Hibbert, Oviedo, Besic, Gibson, Barry, Osman, Ledson, McGeady, Atsu, Naismith, Eto'o, Lukaku. If Ryan Ledson plays, that will be his debut appearance for the Blues.
What to Watch For
Injuries, travel, and a looming Sunday afternoon matchup with Manchester United at Old Trafford should see another interesting lineup from the boss. Tim Howard has yet to miss a game between the posts this season. Look for that streak to continue on Thursday. Martinez said that he wants to keep Romelu Lukaku playing to get him back to full fitness. Bosnian international Muhamed Besic turned in a solid performance on Saturday, and will want to see more playing time to make up for a rough start to the season. Winger Aiden McGeady is a Russian Premier League veteran and can use his experience to lead his teammates into Krasnodar. Tyias Browning made his Everton debut at Anfield last Saturday and the Liverpool-born youngster is looking for more playing time with the first team.
Martinez and Co. are riding high after the late draw with Liverpool, but it's difficult to know what to expect from this game. Krasnodar has proved to be a tough place to play as Real Sociedad was recently defeated there, 3-0. It is likely that the head man will try to avoid that type of shocking result and play defensively.
FC Krasnodar play in the Russian city of Krasnodar, in the southwestern part of the country. They play in the Russian Premier League and currently sit sixth on the league table. The side arrived to the group stage of the Europa League via the second round of competition, where they did not concede a goal at home.
Krasnodar faced Lille in France in their first Group H match, and the result was a 1-1 draw. The team is led by Brazilian forwards Ari and Wanderson and Belarusian captain Alyaksandr Martynovich.
The Russian club shares Kuban Stadium with fellow Russian Premier League side FC Kuban Krasnodar while they build their own stadium. Kuban Stadium capacity is 31,654. It was considerably difficult for Evertonians to arrange to see the match in Russia, but some brave fans will make the trip.
Time, TV, Where to Watch
8pm Local, 5pm UK, 12pm EST
ITV4 - UK, Fox Sports 1 - USA