Roberto Martinez was appointed as David Moyes' successor at Everton at the start of June, and he debuts against a Canaries outfit that has spent heavily during the summer window.Roberto Martinez will take charge of his first competitive match since joining Everton when the Toffees take on Norwich City on Saturday.
The Spaniard, installed at the club in June after leading Wigan to FA Cup glory, travels to Carrow Road hoping to replicate the opening-day performance that saw Everton secure a 1-0 win over Manchester United last season.
The Merseyside club had gained a reputation as slow starters under David Moyes, and before last term's opening win, the Toffees had lost the previous four games on the first day of the campaign; however, Martinez will be encouraged that they are in a good position to start well, after seeing them win three of their seven preseason matches.
Norwich has only suffered two defeats in the buildup to its third consecutive Premier League campaign. Manager Chris Hughton has made seven signings as he looks to put his stamp on the club, including striking pair Gary Hooper and Ricky van Wolfswinkel.
The former Newcastle boss will be enthused by his side’s form against Everton since its top-flight return in 2011, having won once and drawing three times against the Toffees. Everton's poor run against its opening-day opponent is not the only issue Martinez has to worry about.
He inherits a side currently on a poor run of away form in the league, having failed to win an away league fixture since Jan. 2, a run of eight games.
Hughton may likely look to record signing Van Wolfswinkel to keep Norwich’s good run going, but could be without Hooper, who has been suffering from a shin injury. Another new signing, Leroy Fer, is unavailable through suspension, a ban carried over from his time at former club, FC Twente.
Martinez will definitely be without Tony Hibbert (knock) and Antolin Alcaraz (hamstring), but will be hopeful over midfield pair Marouane Fellaini (infected cut) and Darron Gibson (knee).
Fellaini featured for Belgium against France on Wednesday, while Irishman Gibson has been rated as a "50-50" chance to feature on Saturday.
"In the last 24 hours he [Gibson] has recovered very well - probably better than I expected - but he is still 50-50 for the weekend," Martinez told the club's official website. "We feel that he has got an opportunity. We hope that he can be fit for the weekend."