Everton worries ease
Published 07/02/2014 | 10:22
Everton's short-term injury problems appear to be over with only on-loan striker Romelu Lukaku still sidelined, and even he is expected to be fit within a fortnight.
Forward Gerard Deulofeu will travel with the squad for Sunday's match at Tottenham after being out with a hamstring problem since mid-December while new loan signing Lacina Traore also has a chance of being included for the first time.
Full-back Seamus Coleman, an unused substitute in last weekend's win over Aston Villa after injury, is set to return to the starting line-up.
Lukaku, who was ruled out for weeks rather than months after being carried off with an ankle injury in the Merseyside derby at Anfield on January 28, is set to return to full fitness within a fortnight.
However, with that timescale taking him up to the game against parent club Chelsea it seems more likely March 1 at home to West Ham will mark his playing comeback.
There was even positive news on long-term casualties Darron Gibson and Arouna Kone who are both ahead of schedule in rehabilitation from knee operations.
"Seamus Coleman has come through training ever so well, Antolin (Alcaraz) is going to be out of the weekend but there is nothing to be worried about - we're just trying to get him back to full fitness," said manager Roberto Martinez.
"Romelu Lukaku will be out for this weekend and probably the week after but I don't expect him to be any longer as he has been recovering really well.
"Everyone else is fully fit and available apart from the three long-term absentees of Bryan Oviedo (broken leg), Arouna and Darron.
"Darron is progressing really well and I feel he will be back before the season ends, which is a real bonus.
"Maybe it is a bit too early to give a clear date when he will be back but I expect him to be playing again in May, which is credit to his hard work and the way he is recovering.
"Arouna is similar and I expect him to be involved again before the season end, which is an incredible credit to the medical department.
"Ross Barkley has had a bit of pain (having played two games after a broken toe) but it is normal so I expect him to be fully fit and available for Sunday."
The 6ft 8in striker Traore is yet to feature in a match-day squad following his arrival from Monaco late last month but is on the verge of a return from a hamstring injury.
"Lacina is progressing really well, I just need to assess whether it is wise to give him playing time," added Martinez.
"He is fully fit from a medical point of view it is just a matter of giving him the right playing time over the next two or three weeks because the last thing we want is for Lacina to push himself and get stretched trying to achieve the tempo of the Premier League.
"He has been a breath of fresh air on the training pitch, he has a hungry approach to everything he does and so we are excited to see him fully fit."