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Everton V Newcastle United Premier League Preview

Roberto Martinez needs three points at Goodison Park to slow the pressure that is piling on him...

Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

When and Where: 16:00 GMT, 15 March, Goodison Park

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Everton host Newcastle United on Sunday, and will be hoping that they can get a win in order to stay out of any potential relegation fight.

Team News:

Leighton Baines, Leon Osman, and John Stones all face late fitness tests, meaning that we could be stuck with Antolin Alcaraz at centre-back again. Meanwhile Gareth Barry's ban for accumulating too many yellow cards means that he joins Aiden McGeady, Steven Pienaar, Tony Hibbert, and Bryan Oviedo amongst the players who definitely can't make it.

The Opposition:

We tend to do well against the Magpies at home, having only lost once in their last 11 trips to the Goodison Park. Add this to the facts that main striker Papiss Cisse is suspended and only the teams in the relegation zone have conceded more away goals than John Carver's side and it looks good for the Toffees.

What To Watch For:

Hopefully confidence will have been improved by the 2-1 victory over Dynamo Kiev in mid-week, and the Blues will at least start the game with some impetus. If we can grab an early goal then there is every chance that the momentum could carry us through the whole match. However, if the Toon grab a lead then it could all go horribly wrong.

Romelu Lukaku has 16 goals this season now, and will be wanting to push on to get to the magic 20 mark by the end of the season. If we allow him to run at the Newcastle defence rather than use the Belgian as a hold up man then he could well add to his tally on Sunday. Hopefully Martinez has realised that this is the best way to use the 21-year-old.

Meanwhile we will likely get to see James McCarthy and Mohamed Besic play alongside each other again. The pair look on form like our best pairing in the two holding positions, but the last time they appeared together we suffered a disappointing 2-2 draw with Leicester City. Besis was even substituted with just 55 minutes gone. Maybe this time they will be able to work better with each other for the experience of that match.

The Final Word:

With the side just three points above the relegation zone if we lose against the Magpies, it is imperative that we get the win here. It may not be pretty but we have the better players on paper and a lot to lose, so I'm calling a scrappy 2-1 victory. Then again, I do tend to be far too optimistic.