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Hearts vs Everton: Match preview

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Everything you need to know for this Sunday's friendly against Hearts.

Stanley Chou/Getty Images

After a poor end to our Barclays Asia trophy hopes, Everton continue their action in pre-season in the Scottish city of Edinburgh. Sunday's opponents are Hearts, who were crowned champions of the Scottish Championship and regained promotion into the Scottish Premier League last season.

Against Arsenal, in that last Asia Cup match, the players still looked far from match fit and struggled to keep up with the tempo Arsenal were setting throughout the game. All be it Singapore and its weather conditions may have been a contributory factor, it needs to be pointed out that the Arsenal players didn't seem bothered by the heat and humidity. Things will be a lot different up in Scotland and the temperatures will be more like what the players can expect throughout the forthcoming Premier league campaign.

How to watch

The game will be shown on Everton.tv as part of the club's coverage of all the pre-season friendlies. The charge for the match itself is £1.99 but fans can buy a 'preseason pass' to watch all of the remaining friendlies. The match on Sunday won't be shown on national TV in the UK.

Team news

A boost for the Everton team is the presence of Bryan Oviedo and Leighton Baines in the travelling squad after missing out on chunks of last season and the pre-season friendlies so far. Muhamed Besic will face a late fitness test and may also be part of the travelling team. Everton are expected to field a weakened side on Sunday, but as against Arsenal and Stoke in Asia, bring players on from the bench.

The opposition

From a Hearts point of view last season was the best possible outcome for the their team, head coach Robbie Neilson and Director of football Craig Levein. The club struggled with finances in the 2013/14 season which resulted in relegation during that season for the club. The Hearts team will be looking to give us a really test come Sunday and their key players are their defender and club captain Alim Ozturk and striker Soufian El Hassnaoui.

What to watch for

I'd be expecting a slow Everton start in this one given there is still two weeks until the new season. The fans up in Scotland are very loud and passionate and with the Hearts team being promoted the fans will still be on a high so expect a partizan atmosphere. The Blues will also have to battle against what will be a well organised defence so I feel the game will be a little scrappy on the whole.

However, saying that I'd like to see a more rounded performance than the one we saw to end our Asia Trophy campaign. with another week's training under their belts the team need to be much more comfortable in possession and be more creative than they were in Singapore, challenging the opposition defence which should - in theory at least - struggle to contain Everton's attacking players.

Final word

As a fan, i'd be hoping for a clean sheet and a 2-0/3-0 victory. I do feel though Martinez will be happy just to come away from the game with any sort of win.