Ross Barkley may be handed a new Everton deal after the busy festive season
Roberto Martinez says Everton are working hard to sort out a new contract for highly-rated youngster Ross Barkley.
Last Updated: 12/12/13 3:11pm
And experienced centre-back Sylvain Distin is also likely to be rewarded for his consistently good performances with a short-term extension.
The 36-year-old Distin is entering the final six months of his contract while Barkley signed a four-and-a-half-year deal in December 2011 but is likely to be offered a new contract containing improved terms.
"You can imagine we are always working behind the scenes to try to reward youngsters who do well at the club, and Ross is clearly that," Martinez said.
"There is nothing to announce but, even when you don't speak about issues, we work hard to make sure that the youngsters get rewarded and Ross clearly deserves that.
"Sylvain has been a terrific performer this season and we couldn't be happier with his role at the club.
"All these issues are vital for us and we are going to look after them straight after this Christmas period.
"At this moment all that matters is to get everyone focused on being ready to help the team and Sylvain clearly has been an example of doing that."
Baines on the way back
Martinez added that England left-back Leighton Baines could be back in action for Everton before the new year, having broken his toe in the Merseyside derby at the end of November.
"It is one of those injuries which is so frustrating," said the Everton boss. "Leighton is feeling great but, when you start to do some work, you realise you still have a period to heal the fracture and give it some more time.
"I don't think he will be available for Saturday - although I wouldn't discount it - and it will be more realistic for the next couple of weeks.
"This Saturday is a very important game at home (to Fulham) and then you go straight into four games in a 10-day period, which is demanding, and then we are going to be strong in the FA Cup.
"We need as many players as we can. We have lost Darron Gibson and Arouna Kone, and hope we can have everyone else. It will be vital to have Leighton fully fit."