Wednesday 17 January 2018

Roberto Martinez: We'll be able to cope without Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku, pictured, impressed Roberto Martinez in Switzerland
Romelu Lukaku, pictured, impressed Roberto Martinez in Switzerland

Everton manager Roberto Martinez is confident his side have enough goals in them to cope with the absence of leading scorer Romelu Lukaku.

The Belgium striker has scored 18 times this season but missed last weekend's narrow 1-0 win over Southampton and is rated only 50-50 for this weekend's trip to Swansea.

Martinez said the 21-year-old will not return until they are 100 per cent sure his hamstring injury is fully healed, which means Arouna Kone - with just one goal in 20 appearances in an injury-ravaged two seasons at the club - is again likely to lead the line at the Liberty Stadium.

Steven Naismith has nine goals although he has only scored once in the Premier League since early January, which is the same as Kevin Mirallas (also nine) although he has not featured for a month after a dead leg.

"Romelu is a massive player for us and it would be a worry if we were not to miss him," said Martinez.

READ MORE: Martinez: 'Darron Gibson won't play before the end of the season'

"We need to give as much time as we can before the game on Saturday.

"At the moment he is still 50-50 because it is an injury we need to make sure is 100 per cent well healed before we put him on the pitch.

"It is not a major problem and he has been working well the last two days even though he hasn't joined the group yet.

"The goalscoring threat Rom brings to the side is unique and we don't have a like-for-like replacement in that respect but we have other players who have shown they can bring a different way of playing and can be as effective.

"Arouna Kone is fully fit and I feel in the last three games in the league he is showing to be himself.

"There are other players around who can take responsibility for not having Romelu on the pitch."

One player who will not have such responsibility is midfielder Darron Gibson, who Martinez has ruled out for the rest of the season after breaking a metatarsal in training.

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