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Everton's Stones in fitness race to face West Brom

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has revealed key defender John Stones faces a race against time if he is to be fit for Monday's Premier League clash at West Brom.

The England international had to be replaced after 48 minutes of his side's League Cup win over Reading on Tuesday with a knee injury.

Stones, 21, has been responding well to treatment but is 50/50 to be passed fit for the game at The Hawthorns.

"We have been pleased with John's reaction to treatment in the last couple of days but I still think the next 48 hours are very important," Martinez said at his pre-match press conference.

"I wouldn't say he is not going to be in the squad but it is too early to make a final decision. It will be touch-and-go for the West Brom game."

Martinez, who also confirmed Seamus Coleman will be subject to a late test to see if he can make the squad for the West Brom clash, has been excited by his side's early-season performances.

He continued: "The best way to be able to measure the quality of this squad now is to see the two performances that we had at Southampton away and Chelsea at home.

"I think that has given a real reflection of what we can achieve. Now it is about showing consistency and continuity in those level of performances we have shown and seeing how well we can do it over the term of the season.

"The excitement is there. When you are a manager of a group of players like the ones we have, you get excited when you see the competition for places and the players taking responsibility when they come on to the pitch wanting to help the team with a generous approach. The levels have been quite exciting.

"I wouldn't say two wins out of six is a fair reflection. Our levels of performances have been probably better than the points returned. You need to play well to get points over the course of the season so I would rather have the performances than the points at this stage. 

"Against Swansea I thought we created enough chances to win the football game and against Manchester City we deserved more than we got."

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