Roberto Martinez has had his side training on Widnes Vikings Rugby League club artificial facilities to help them adapt to the surface that they will be playing on tonight in their UEFA Europa League Last 32 clash with BSC Young Boys at the Stade du Suisse.
Martinez spoke on the matter in his pre-match press conference on Wednesday: Martinez said: "Obviously it is a completely different surface and the bounce of the ball is different. The home team are a bit more used to those conditions. But from our point of view, we have done our preparation right - the whole week we have been working on that sort of surface, and I feel we are ready. I think it is more about making sure we don't do too much, because I think recovering from working on this sort of surface can take a little bit longer than with natural grass. But overall, we are ready as a team to be able to perform and be ourselves tomorrow, and it is not an excuse or a reason for us not to be able to compete in the game." “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.”
BSC Young Boys: Duo Matias Vitkieviez (knee) and David Von Ballmoos (shoulder) are expected to miss out, but these two absenties are not near the comparison of numbers that Martinez will have to contend with in Switzerland.
Everton: For the visitors, they are without a number of key players, these include Leighton Baines and Aiden McGeady who were two of eight who did not fly to Bern. As well as Baines and McGeady (both knee), the travelling party is also missing Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar and Arouna Kone – who have been playing for the U21’s as part of their rehab programme. Tony Hibbert also misses out (unspecified). Sylvain Distin was available but not selected and Aaron Lennon is cup-tied, having featured for Tottenham in the group stages, but fellow loanee Christian Atsu is back in the squad after his African Cup of Nations final heartbreak with Ghana, but he also missed last Wedneday’s midweek clash against parent club Chelsea (ineligible).
Match Odds: Young Boys (23/10), Draw (12/5), Everton (7/5).
Everything is staged for a competitive tie at The Stade du Suisse, Everton, who won their group with just 11 points, the lowest figure out of all group stage winners, will be searching for an away goal, where as Young Boys will poise reseilant after only being beaten once in their last four ties with English clubs. Kick off 18:00 GMT.