December 22 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
It is likely to be a case of one key face returning but two missing out for high-flying Everton, when Norwich City visit in the Premier League at the weekend.
Roberto Martinez’s Toffees have lost just two league games all season and that despite the lengthy absence of one of their star performers, left-back Leighton Baines.
Baines missed their FA Cup win over QPR with a back spasm, having just returned to full fitness after a toe injury suffered in late November against Liverpool.
However, defensive colleagues Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka are expected to miss the Canaries’ visit after being sidelined for another fortnight with hamstring injuries.
“Leighton is recovering as we expected so I don’t think he’s going to be too far from being able to train,” said Martinez.
“I would say Leighton will be back in training on Thursday. We’ll then have to assess him. Back spasms can be cleared completely or they can leave you a little bit with a lack of mobility.
“Any player needs to be 100pc to be able to play and to be considered to play, so we’ll assess him and take it from there.
“Sylvain and Phil both have got probably a period of between seven and 10 days, but I would say two weeks is the most realistic time. They are players who recover really well from these sorts of soft tissue injuries; they are not major problems.”
Everton’s injury problems could mean involvement for Norwich’s reported January transfer target John Heitinga, who was a late substitute in their FA Cup win but was not in the matchday squad for the Toffees’ previous two Premier League games.
However, impressive on-loan Barcelona forward Gerard Deulofeu will be missing due to his own hamstring injury.
The 19-year-old returned to his parent club for treatment and won’t return before the end of the month.
Martinez is expected to allow the January departures of out-of-favour striker Nikica Jelavic and centre-back Heitinga.