Tranmere Rovers vs. Everton: How the Toffees Will Line Up

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Tranmere Rovers vs. Everton: How the Toffees Will Line Up
Paul Thomas/Getty Images

Everton launch their 2014-15 season on Tuesday, facing the first of five pre-season friendlies.

Roberto Martinez's side make the short trip to Prenton Park, visiting a Tranmere side not met in competitive action since 2001.

This will be the Toffees' first game since their 2-0 win over Hull on the final day of last season.

In preparation for the approaching campaign, Martinez's squad have been warm-weather training in Austria.

 

Team News

Pre-season has started without the Toffees' World Cup contingent, all of whom have been given an extended holiday.

Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

This match will therefore take place without them, ruling Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas and Tim Howard out of selection.

Injury news is concealed far better during pre-season, but Everton filed a report 10 days ago on last season's long-term absentees, via EvertonFC.com.

From that, it seems Darron Gibson is fit and back in training, Arouna Kone needs a little more individual work and Bryan Oviedo will remain out until September.

 

Selection

With that team news considered, here's a look at Martinez's potential starting XI:

EFC vs. TRFC - Football tactics and formations

Considering the status of this game, Everton could adopt any number of formations and field numerous personnel.

While Martinez predominately stuck to 4-2-3-1 last season, he regularly experimented with three at the back last summer. Given the number of centre-backs available to him here, he may do so again.

Robles will presumably start in goal, and with three senior defenders available, Martinez may opt to use all three together. 

Shane Duffy and Tyias Browning are also in contention and will expect to feature at some stage.

Seamus Coleman and Tony Hibbert are the available right-backs, while Luke Garbutt is the only natural left-back with first-team experience.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Further forward, two of Darron Gibson, Gareth Barry and James McCarthy will start in midfield. In this formation, Leon Osman would then sit ahead of them, charged with linking play with those ahead of him.

Everton are desperately short of strikers at present, which will almost certainly mean a forward berth for Steven Naismith. Aiden McGeady would then fit into this formation, coming in off a flank.

Steven Pienaar, Conor McAleny, Gibson, Hibbert, Duffy and Browning would then be among those to emerge from the bench.

 

Key Targets for Martinez

These friendlies present an opportunity for Martinez to experiment and learn more about his squad.

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He will want to continue his side's possession approach and speed up his side's transitions.

For that he will afford Barry, McCarthy and Gibson plenty of time in key central positions. Each must spend time controlling their side's tempo and moving the Toffees forward.

Elsewhere, with Europa League games to come, Everton are more likely to use three at the back. This is again something Martinez will want to test during pre-season.

Finally, the Catalan will want to see his youngsters in a first-team environment. Their performances will determine which are loaned and which remain in the first-team fold.

The likes of McAleny, Browning, Duffy, Garbutt, John Lundstram and Chris Long will all be looking to impress during pre-season.

Prediction: Tranmere 1-4 Everton

 

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