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Sunday 4 December 2016

Roberto Martinez: 'Pienaar won't be risked for last last three games'

Pienaar
Pienaar

Everton manager Roberto Martinez would rather hold back Steven Pienaar for pre-season than risk him in their remaining three matches.

The South African has made just one appearance - as a 28th-minute substitute against Swansea on April 11 - since mid-December because of injury.

With Everton having little to play for in their final three games, Martinez would rather the 33-year-old concentrated on getting himself ready for next season.

"Stevie is working really hard now to be involved before the season ends but it will be difficult to find out one way or the other," he said.

"We'll monitor his situation and if he's 100 per cent over the next three weeks it will be great to see him on a football pitch.

"If not, we'll make sure he has a good fresh start in pre-season and make sure he's in the best possible shape to have a good campaign.

"It's a period now where we want Stevie to be fit before the end of the season but, in one way or another, he has to be starting pre-season 100 per cent."

Pienaar's fellow midfielders Darron Gibson and Bryan Oviedo (both broken metatarsals) and defender Tony Hibbert have already been ruled out until next season. "We've got nothing (in terms of new injuries) from the weekend - it was a healthy trip on the injury front," added Martinez.

"Tony Hibbert and Darron Gibson are still working well but I don't think they're going to make this season.

"Bryan Oviedo has had a very good first few days of treatment and we're hoping he'll be fine for the start of August."

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