Belfast Telegraph

Martinez relishing Irvine reunion

Everton manager Roberto Martinez insists sentiment will play no part when he comes up against the club's former academy boss Alan Irvine at West Brom on Saturday.

The Scot left the Toffees' Finch Farm training base in the summer to take up the role as Pepe Mel's successor at The Hawthorns.

Neither side has had a great start to the campaign with Everton, in 17th with just two points from three matches, ahead of West Brom only on goal difference.

It makes Saturday's encounter all the more significant and, while Martinez has nothing but respect for Irvine, he knows both will be trying their hardest to out-do the other.

"It will be nice to see Alan. He's a gentleman and a footballing person that everyone has huge respect for," he said on City Talk 105.9.

"He did a terrific job at our club in different roles and we wish him the very best of luck in his new project - but just not for this weekend.

"He has given a lot of effort and good planning with our academy.

"We had a lot of good work from him and his footballing vision and previously he had a very important job as assistant manager.

"I'm sure that good feeling is going to be shared for many years to come and will never be affected by whatever happens on Saturday.

"We know a lot of the individuals there and obviously the manager had been a part of our fabric for a long time so you can imagine that it's going to be a lot of understanding between the two teams.

"But both teams realise it is a very important football game and we will need to be very focused and put in a good performances.

"It's a game we need to perform in and get a positive result."

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