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Everton play down pitch concerns

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Everton will not able to use Young Boys' artificial pitch as an excuse if they fail to take a positive result away from Switzerland on Thursday, according to manager Roberto Martinez.

The fast surface at the Stade de Suisse will behave differently to normal turf and should give Young Boys, who are of course much more familiar to the pitch, a slight advantage.

However, Martinez revealed in his pre-game press conference that the players have been training this week on an artificial surface at nearby Widnes Vikings rugby league club.

He also asked Harry Redknapp for advice after his Spurs side played there in a Champions League qualifier in 2010, stressing that everything has been done to ensure the players are as prepared as possible.

Martinez said:

"We have done our preparation right. We have been working on that sort of surface and I feel we are ready.

"It is not an excuse or a reason for us not to be able to compete in the game.

"You do get a concern for players who have had major surgery or injuries when playing on this surface because you can pick up problems, which is why we have kept Arouna Kone back ahead of Sunday.

"But in general that concern doesn’t affect the way you play the game. There is an effect on the way you are going to recover. But since we played Chelsea the whole focus has been on preparing for this surface and the Europa League itself."

"The reality is that it is a surface the home team are used to playing on. That should give them an advantage and it has always been a debate about whether that is unfair or not. I am a romantic in that I like to play on natural grass.

"But the artificial turfs are not what they used to be – even the appearance looks like normal grass."

Seamus Coleman was also quick to play down any concerns about the surface and also issued a rallying cry to the Everton fans who have once again travelled in number to watch the team.

Coleman said:

"We've been to a local artificial pitch to get used to the surface and hopefully that will help us to settle into the game quickly on Thursday.

"We're obviously not that used to playing on those types of surfaces, but I've played a game for Republic of Ireland against the Faroe Islands in the last qualifying campaign. It is different - but once we get going, hopefully everyone can settle into it and we can get a positive result.

"The fans always travel very well in the Premier League and in Europe - and they make plenty of noise.

It's up to us to get them singing for the full game on Thursday because that can definitely help us."