Everton have been training on an artificial pitch to help them in Thursday’s Europa League last 32 first-leg tie against Young Boys in Switzerland.
The Berne team use a synthetic surface at their Stade du Suisse home so the Everton manager, Roberto Martinez, has been preparing on the artificial pitch at the home of Widnes Vikings Rugby League club, which hosts Everton Ladies’ home matches.
Martinez said: “The artificial turf is something we need to adapt quickly to. [Young Boys] use it to very good effect and their home results in the Europa League were outstanding.
“They were only second to Napoli on goal difference. They beat Napoli 2-0 at home so we are going to play a strong, energetic team full of young legs, in a team that is well structured and well organised. It is going to be a really exciting tie.”
Leighton Baines and Aiden McGeady (knee injuries) are among eight Everton players not to have made the trip. Also missing are Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar and Arouna Koné, who are still not fully fit, and Tony Hibbert.
Sylvain Distin was available but not selected and Aaron Lennon is the other absentee as he is cup-tied, having featured for Tottenham earlier in the competition. But fellow winger Christian Atsu, on loan from Chelsea, is back after playing for Ghana at the African Cup of Nations.
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