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Martinez hopeful for Alcaraz

Roberto Martinez believes Antolin Alcaraz has put his injury problems behind him.

The Paraguayan defender has played only four times for Everton since following Martinez from Wigan to Merseyside in the summer.

A groin injury suffered in pre-season meant Alcaraz did not make his debut until the end of December, and he then had a setback after playing three games in a week.

He played one more game, in Everton's 4-0 loss to Liverpool at the end of last month, before another spell on the sidelines.

Toffees boss Martinez told the Daily Post: "Antolin is fully fit now and it is just about making sure we give him the right introduction back into the team.

"I never wanted for him to play three games in a week when he came back from injury and that set him back a little bit.

"But he is fully fit now, he is working with the team and it is a fantastic time in the season to have Antolin back, alongside the other centre-halves.

"To have Antolin alongside Sylvain Distin, Phil Jagielka and John Stones is as good as it gets really."

Alcaraz was also dogged by injury last season, with many Wigan fans believing his absence was a key factor in their relegation.

Martinez added: "I do feel now that he is over (his problems) and I think we are on the right path now and have a clear understanding of what Antolin needs for a clear run back into the team."

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