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Irish duo's recovery delivers some good news for Martinez

ROBERTO Martinez expects to see Irish duo James McCarthy and Darron Gibson back in action soon as the crocked pair are making good progress in their recovery.

McCarthy (pictured) has missed the Toffees' last four games with a long-standing hamstring complaint and won't be involved in tonight's battle with West Brom while compatriot Gibson has also been sidelined, making just three Premier League appearances this season and he last featured in early November.

"James McCarthy and Darron Gibson are not too far away and while Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar are progressing well they have a bit more of a longer-term recovery programme ahead," Martinez said ahead of the WBA clash, the under-pressure Goodison Park chief relieved to get some good news on the injury front.

"Tim Howard is still well within the six to eight weeks programme (identified for his recovery from a calf strain) but they are not going to be available for the Monday game, although we will assess Sylvain Distin just before the game to see if he makes the squad.

"I would say probably Tony Hibbert is the closest as he has already joined the group but we need to be careful we don't push him too early.

Everton's squad will get a chance to regroup and recharge their batteries over the next fortnight as manager Roberto Martinez plans a change of scenery.

After tonight's match at home to West Brom the Toffees are not in action again until January 31 after their FA Cup exit last week.

Martinez hopes to take the group away for some warm-weather training during which time he may get more of his players off the injured list. It is the one positive to come from an early cup exit and will allow the squad to prepare for a busy February which brings a Merseyside derby and a return to Europa League action.

"The choice would not to have been out of the cup because we try to progress," he said. "But now we are still involved in two competitions and we will be busy with the amount of games we have got, especially in February."

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