roberto-martinez

Twenty-one years have passed since Everton last lifted silverware when they triumphed in the FA Cup under Joe Royle.

The Toffees have been thwarted in their attempts to add to their trophy cabinet in recent seasons with defeat to Chelsea in the final of the FA Cup in 2009 and two exits in the semi-finals of the League Cup.

After years of being stringent in the transfer market, Everton made a big splash by signing Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea as well as James McCarthy from Wigan Athletic for £13million.

Those deals, along with the development of young talent such as John Stones, Seamus Coleman and Ross Barkley, have given the club one of the strongest squads on paper in the Premier League.

However, Roberto Martinez’s side have struggled to find consistency in the top flight this season, which has seen them spend much of the campaign in the bottom half of the table.

As a result, pressure has grown on the Spaniard to deliver success in the FA Cup due to a recent run of poor form at Goodison Park.

Martinez was always going to face a tough task with the Toffees following in the footsteps of David Moyes, who enjoyed an excellent 10-year reign while often battling with financial constraints.

Since chairman Bill Kenwright allowed the club to become more active in the transfer market under Martinez, expectations of the team have grown with the budget.

Everton are facing the possibility of a second consecutive year of regression under Martinez despite the heavy outlay on transfers, which has made victory in the FA Cup vital to his future.

Stress has also emerged on the Spaniard’s position in the light of interest of several of his star players, with Stones regularly linked with a move to Chelsea.

Meanwhile, speculation has already started over the futures of Lukaku and Barkley due to the club’s expected absence from the Champions League next season.

Should Everton lose the core of their team during the summer, life will only become harder on Martinez if he survives to see their potential departures.

Iranian billionaire Farhad Moshiri has completed a 49.9% share purchase of the club, pledging to “give them whatever I have”.

If Moshiri comes good on his promise then there is huge scope for the Toffees to propel themselves into the Champions League places once again, which will come 13 years after their last appearance in Europe’s elite competition.

The club have the opportunity to use a successful FA Cup campaign as a platform to greater things, which may be enough to convince their stars to remain invested in the potential at Goodison.

Much will rest on the shoulders of Martinez when he leads out his side at Wembley against either West Ham United or Manchester United in April, with the Merseysiders at 12/5 in the latest FA Cup betting odds to win the competition.

Failure could lead to his departure from the Toffees and he may be forced to watch while another man enjoys the fruits of the limitless potential the club possess.