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Everton-Swansea City Preview

AP - Sports

Swansea will be looking for their first victory against Everton when they welcome the in-form Merseysiders to the Liberty Stadium on Sunday.

Everton, who are now managed by ex-Swans boss Roberto Martinez, have won 12 of the 17 league and cup matches played between the two sides - with the other five games ending as draws - and they will travel to south Wales full of confidence.

The Toffees (8-7-1) are fifth in the table with 31 points from 16 matches. They beat Fulham 4-1 at Goodison Park on Saturday to extend their unbeaten run in the Premier League to nine matches.

The Merseysiders have a number of key players out injured including Darron Gibson (knee), Arouna Kone (knee), Leighton Baines (broken toe) and Gerard Deulofeu (hamstring), while several first-team regulars are within one booking of being handed a one-match ban. However, Martinez is certain his Everton squad can cope with the demands of a busy festive season starting with the trip to Swansea.

"All we are doing is taking it game by game and making sure everybody is fully fit for the games they are involved in and nothing else," Martinez told the Everton official club website. "This is when you realise it is a squad game and everyone has to be ready. This is when you get the rewards of working hard behind the scenes.

"We have top professionals at the club and I am really excited about seeing the players who have been working really well in training to help the team and who are desperate to show what they can do. It's been great to see Antolin Alcaraz fully fit, ready and getting some match fitness. There is also John Stones, Nikica Jelavic, Steven Naismith and Tony Hibbert, so it is very important that everyone in the squad is ready because we are going to be as good as our squad is. It's not just about 11 players."

Swansea (5-5-6) are safely positioned in 10th place with 20 points but manager Michael Laudrup will be keen for his side to improve their disappointing form at the Liberty Stadium, where they have won just two of their eight league matches this campaign.

The Swans will be without goalkeeper Michel Vorm, who underwent knee surgery earlier this week, while winger Nathan Dyer is sidelined with an ankle ligament injury. Defender Angel Rangel is suspended, but former midfielder James McCarthy is available to face his former club after completing a one-match ban.

One player pushing for a place in Laudrup's team is defender Jazz Richards. The 22-year-old Wales international has just returned from a successful loan spell at Championship club Huddersfield Town, where he made nine appearances.

"I've come back from Huddersfield with a number of games behind me, which is what I needed," Richards told the Swansea official club website. "I enjoyed my time with the club and I'm grateful to them for giving me the opportunity of regular game-time, but now I'm hoping to be amongst the first team plans here at Swansea.

"I will give the manager further options at right-back, particularly as Angel is suspended for Sunday's game with Everton. But, as everyone realises, Christmas is a busy period for every team so it's important the manager has plenty of options available. Hopefully I'll get some game-time, but, if not, I will be pushing hard to prove that I'm ready to step in and do a job for the team and manager."

Everton took four points off Swansea last season, winning 3-0 at the Liberty Stadium in September, before drawing 0-0 at home in January.

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