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Premier League Preview: Cardiff City - Everton

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Premier League Preview: Cardiff City - Everton
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Premier League Preview: Cardiff City - Everton

Cardiff City has a big act to follow when its take on Everton in its second Premier League home game since securing promotion.

Malky Mackay's men provided the first huge shock of the 2013-14 campaign when they defeated big-spending Manchester City 3-2 at home on Sunday courtesy of a headed brace from Fraizer Campbell. The Welsh club followed that up with a 2-0 win over Accrington Stanley in the Capital One Cup in midweek and will be full of confidence as it seeks another scalp against Everton.

The Merseyside outfit has endured a somewhat mixed start to life under Roberto Martinez, having posted two draws in their opening Premier League fixtures before needing extra time to beat Stevenage in the League Cup on Wednesday.

Although the Spaniard is far from under pressure yet, he will be keen to quickly earn a first league win since his arrival in place of the long-serving David Moyes. Midfielder Darron Gibson (knee) and defender Antolin Alcaraz (hamstring) will be unable to help Martinez in that regard, as he revealed on Thursday.

"Gibson and Alcaraz are joining the group, now it's just a case of measuring their match fitness and when they're going to be ready," Martinez told the club's official website. "Then you've got everyone else at the club fully fit and ready to help the team."

The Everton boss must also deal with uncertainty over the futures of Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines, who have been strongly linked with joining Moyes by swapping Goodison Park for Old Trafford and switching to Manchester United before the transfer window closes on Monday.

Both players have featured regularly despite the long-touted possibility of a move - with Fellaini even scoring the winning goal against Stevenage - and are likely to do so again here.

Cardiff has few concerns regarding the squad's fitness, with Andreas Cornelius the only man set to miss out after picking up an ankle strain in midweek.

The two teams last went head-to-head in an English top-flight fixture back in April 1962, when Everton ran out 8-3 winners at Goodison Park, but they have met even more recently in the League Cup, with Cardiff running out 1-0 home victors in January 1980.

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