Martinez expects tough Crystal Palace test

The Toffees boss believes his side will need to be at their best to defeat Tony Pulis' men at Goodison Park as they seek to secure a spot in the top four
Everton manager Roberto Martinez is expecting a difficult game against Crystal Palace as his side pushes to secure fourth place.

Martinez's men host Palace at Goodison Park on Wednesday as Everton aims to earn a Champions League berth for the first time since 2005, when it was knocked out before the group stages.

The Merseyside club leapfrogged Arsenal into fourth with a 1-0 win at Sunderland on Saturday, although Arsene Wenger's charges can regain that place and put the pressure on Everton by beating West Ham on Tuesday.

Everton will be heavy favorites to take all three points against relegation-threatened Palace, having reached 66 points - the club's highest ever Premier League tally. Everton is also streaking, with the win at Sunderland making it seven league wins, but, while the Spaniard is relishing the atmosphere at Goodison Park, Martinez is wary of a visiting side which heads into the game on the back of three consecutive victories.

"I'm excited about it," he told the club's own TV station. "The welcome the players are going to have in front of our fans is going to be special. We've got the highest Premier League points tally in the club's history and I think the players deserve that sort of welcome. 

"It's going to be a really difficult game and we need to be well rested and well prepared. And we need that support, because Crystal Palace are one of the toughest sides in the division in terms of their defensive focus and how good they are in their defensive intensity."