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Everton boss fears coming 'unstuck'

Roberto Martinez Credit: PA

Everton boss Roberto Martinez has admitted his side are heading into a make-or-break week as they bid to get their season back on track.

Martinez watched a mini-revival come to a juddering halt at Goodison Park as Yannick Bolasie inspired Crystal Palace to repeat last season's 3-2 win in the corresponding fixture.

Palace stormed back after Romelu Lukaku's early opener with goals from Mile Jedinak, Fraizer Campbell and Bolasie before a late Leighton Baines penalty set up a grandstand finish.

The defeat was a major blow for Martinez after successive wins over West Brom and Wolfsburg, and heightened the importance of Tuesday's Capital One Cup trip to Swansea and next weekend's Merseyside derby.

We've got a really busy period and we want to make sure we take advantage of that.

"There is a real competition for places in the squad and it is clear we need everyone to be ready, and those games are going to vital to see how well we can progress.

– Roberto Martinez

Martinez admitted individual errors cost his side dear with goalkeeper Tim Howard at fault for allowing Campbell to head home Palace's second, before Leon Osman lost the ball to spark the move that resulted in Palace's third.

Formal bid for takeover of Salford City Football Club

Gary & Phil Neville training at AJ Bell stadium in Salford Credit: PA

Papers have been submitted to The FA today to formalise the acquisition of Salford City Football Club (SCFC).

Singaporean businessman, Peter Lim, has joined Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt as a partner in Salford City Football Club. Peter will have a 50% stake in the investment. The remaining 50% is shared equally amongst the five former Manchester United players.

“When we set upon this journey we always knew at some point we wanted external partners involved, people who would share our vision for Salford City FC. We have all known Peter for over ten years, his love of sport, above all football, is well documented. He has an incredible track record in business as well as youth and community engagement, especially at grassroots level. This will be fantastic for SCFC, Peter’s experience and knowledge is invaluable and can help take SCFC to where we believe they can be, it’s exciting times for the club”

– Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt

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Police investigate after Balotelli receives racist Twitter abuse

Police are investigating racist abuse which targeted Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli on Twitter.

We can confirm officers are looking into offensive comments made on Twitter about Mario Balotelli earlier today.

– Merseyside Police

The abuse was triggered after Balotelli's reacted to Manchester United's shock defeat to Leicester City. Balotelli, part of the Reds side that lost 5-3 at, tweeted:

Balotelli has been singled out for racist abuse in the past. He was heckled by Italy supporters during a pre-World Cup training camp in May and was on the receiving end of numerous instances of racist abuse during his time at Internazionale and, more recently, AC Milan.

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Former Bolton player Delroy Facey appears in court

Delroy Facey Credit: PA

A former Bolton Wanderers footballer has appeared in court after being charged over an alleged match-fixing conspiracy. Delroy Facey, once a striker with the team has been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery earlier this month following a National Crime Agency (NCA) inquiry. Facey was at Birmingham Crown Court for today's brief hearing, wearing a blue shirt, and appeared composed as he sat in the dock, listening to proceedings. He is set to re-appear at the crown court for a plea hearing on October 27. Appearing alongside Facey was Moses Swaibu, 25, formerly of non league Brighton-based Whitehawk FC who is accused of one count of the same charge. Swaibu is facing re-trial after a jury failed to reach a verdict in June. Both men are set to be tried over the allegations in April, next year. Facey, 34, of Huddersfield, played 10 times for Bolton in the top tier of English football from 2002 to 2004, and was originally arrested in November 2013. During his career Facey also played for West Brom, Hull, Notts County, Lincoln and Tranmere. The charges relate to a continuing football match-fixing investigation by the NCA which secured the conviction in June of Chann Sankaran, Krishna Ganeshan, alongside former non-league footballer Michael Boateng. The three were convicted of paying footballers to influence the outcome of matches, so others could profit through betting on the result.

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