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Everton v Southampton Premier League Preview

Roberto Martinez and co. will find it tough against the 'revelation' of the season at Goodison Park...

Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

When and Where: 15:00 GMT, Goodison Park

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Everton will need a big improvement from their QPR win in order to get anything against Southampton, even at Goodison Park.

Team News:

Arouna Kone is available after the knock to his knee against QPR, but Romelu Lukaku will have a late fitness test on a hamstring problem that occurred in the same match. Meanwhile Kevin Mirallas and Steven Pienaar are both back from their lay offs, but Darren Gibson could yet again be injured and will be having further examinations on a stomach strain before the encounter.

The Opposition:

it would seem unfair to call the Saints a surprise package now, with everything that has gone wrong for us this season going right in theirs. Although their Champions League charge seems on ice at the moment, the South Coast club are still a force to be reckoned with. The midfield partnership of Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama has been doing a passable impression of Gareth Barry and James McCarthy from last season, and they also have the defence that has conceded the least goals in the Premier League. However, they will be weakened by the injury to number one goalkeeper Fraser Forster and midfielder Steven Davis.

What To Watch For:

After playing well for England in the international break, Ross Barkley will be looking to kick on and transfer this form to the domestic scene. The Toffees dearly need him to do so, with the midfield looking devoid of ideas since Kevin Mirallas decided to sulk for the second half of the campaign. If the youngster is able to turn things around after a disappointing second season then the team could well enjoy a confidence boosting strong finish to the season.

One player that an in form Barkley could help is Aaron Lennon, who proved himself to everyone in the win over QPR. HIs endless running and effort were a sight for sore eyes, and after having a well earned break while the national teams were playing the winger will be fresh for this fixture. Maybe he could add a little end product to his game?

Lastly, after being snubbed by Roy Hodgson for the England squad, John Stones will be wanting to prove yet again that he is the best defender at Goodison Park. How Phil Jagielka got in to the national team is anyone's guess, but if Hodgson is watching then he is sure to see another great performance from the youngster on Saturday.

The Final Word:

With the great form that Southampton find themselves in, and the seemingly permanently bad form we are in it doesn't look good for the Blues. However, with the Saints' European push stuttering and us still finding ourselves close to the relegation scrap we may just have some more desire than Ronald Koeman's side. With that in mind a hard fought 1-1 draw could be on the cards.