Away from the action, Everton have enjoyed a summer to remember. Gareth Barry, Romelu Lukaku and Muhamed Besic have all arrived on permanent deals, while several key players have signed new, long-term contracts at the club.
In playing terms, however, things have been a little less encouraging. The excitement greeting those off-field transactions has masked a winless, disappointing set of friendly results.
Games against Porto and Tranmere Rovers have been drawn while Roberto Martinez has seen his side lose to Leicester City and Celta Vigo. Everton are yet to look fully functional at either end of the field, which will concern their manager as the new season draws near.
A final chance to secure some much-needed momentum arrives on Saturday, with a trip to Germany to face SC Paderborn 07.
The Toffees have named a 26-man travelling party, via EvertonFC.com, though it seems not every member will be in contention to play.
Martinez has already ruled out Seamus Coleman and Luke Garbutt—both of whom are included in the squad—while Arouna Kone is also unlikely to feature.
Kevin Mirallas and Lukaku have been named in the squad for the first time this summer, having received extended breaks after the 2014 World Cup.
With both Belgians only recently back in training, neither is likely to play a significant part in the game.
With that team news considered, here's a look at Martinez's potential starting XI:
This is the Toffees' final chance to find their rhythm before the new season. As much as predicting friendly line-ups can be guesswork, on this occasion, Martinez will be keen to name his strongest available side.
Tim Howard, Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin and Leighton Baines will all be expected to start as four of the back five, with the only defensive question mark surrounding right-back.
With Coleman still injured, Martinez will presumably wish to establish a contingency plan should the Irishman remain sidelined any longer.
Tony Hibbert and Tyias Browning are two options to replace him, but the Catalan will be tempted to keep John Stones in his first-team plans.
Everton have experimented with three at the back during pre-season, as well as a 4-3-3 for periods of play against Porto and Celta Vigo. Given the mixed results so far, the tried and tested 4-2-3-1 seems more likely to return for this game.
In that system, Barry and James McCarthy are both automatic selections in midfield, despite a pair of impressive pre-season cameos from new signing Besic.
Aiden McGeady, Leon Osman and Ross Barkley then seem the most likely trio to support Steven Naismith in attack.
Key Points for Martinez
Primarily, Martinez will want to see longer periods of cohesion from his side. He will want to see a controlled game with quicker transitions and a higher overall tempo.
The Toffees must be slicker in attack, carving out a more regular stream of chances. They must also iron out the individual blips that have cost them in defence—something that's been a feature of their pre-season so far.
As mentioned, Martinez will be keen to establish his best alternative solution at right-back, should Coleman's injury keep him absent any longer.
He will also want to find his best combination of attacking midfielders for the first Premier League game of the season. Any three of Mirallas, McGeady, Osman, Barkley, Naismith and Steven Pienaar will all be competing for selection against Leicester next week.
Prediction: SC Paderborn 1-2 Everton
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