Crystal Palace v Everton: Martinez hoping to reap Qatar training rewards
Roberto Martinez is hopeful that a training camp in Qatar can help Everton end their poor Premier League form at "bogey team" Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Everton were afforded a rare weekend off having already been eliminated from the FA Cup and manager Martinez used the opportunity to take his squad to Doha for a series of warm-weather sessions.
Martinez has been seeking a way to arrest Everton's six-match winless run in the league, which has left them 12th in the table, just one spot above Palace on goal difference.
The Spaniard believes the uninterrupted training has given him the perfect opportunity to build the team's confidence.
He is now seeking a winning run, starting at Selhurst Park against a Palace team who have beaten Everton 3-2 in their past two encounters, albeit those matches taking place at Goodison Park.
"The benefits [of going to Qatar] have been immense," he said. "We've been able to work longer on the football pitch because of the warm weather conditions.
"Psychologically it was great to be all together, work on our goals and build for the league and the Europa League. We came back with a real hunger and desire."
Everton, who could welcome James McCarthy back from a month-long lay-off with a hamstring injury, face a Palace side brimming with confidence after winning all four matches since Alan Pardew was named as Neil Warnock's successor earlier this month.
Martinez concedes that Palace have proved a thorn in Everton's side in recent times and is not surprised by the progress they have made.
"They have scored six goals away from home in their last two games and they are in a very good moment of their season, if not the best," he added. "For us they have been a bit of a bogey side.
"I'm not surprised [by Pardew's success]. It happens when you go back to a club that you know inside out.
"It makes it a lot easier. His players want to show what they can do. You get a couple of results and suddenly the team oozes confidence."
Everton, who should have Kevin Mirallas fit despite him coming off at half-time in their last outing against West Brom with a hamstring complaint, could line up against two new faces in Palace's squad.
Pardew swooped to sign midfielder Jordon Mutch for an undisclosed fee from QPR on Thursday, while Shola Ameobi - who worked with Pardew at Newcastle United - also joined on a free transfer until the end of the season.
On Ameobi's signing, Pardew said: "The difference with Shola is he’s played at the top level more or less all his life and I think that experience will be important in this run-in."
Palace have no new reported injury worries, but Yannick Bolasie and Mile Jedinak remain unavailable due to their participation at the Africa Cup of Nations and Asian Cup respectively.