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 By Mike Whalley

Pienaar happy with Baines partnership

Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar believes his left-flank partnership with Leighton Baines is ready to torment Premier League defences again.

Steven Pienaar feels his partnership with Leighton Baines is getting back to its best.
Steven Pienaar feels his partnership with Leighton Baines is getting back to its best.

Pienaar, 31, is slowly regained full match fitness after more than a month out with a hamstring injury sustained in mid-September.

He returned as a substitute to score the winner in the 2-1 Premier League victory over Hull on Oct. 19 and, having managed 80 minutes in the 2-0 win at Aston Villa seven days later, he completed a full game for the first time since his comeback as Everton drew 0-0 with Tottenham at Goodison Park on Sunday.

The former South Africa captain’s partnership down the wing with attacking left-back Baines was a key part of Everton’s push for the top four last season.

Baines’ long-term future at Goodison continues to be the subject of speculation -- with Manchester United having made three bids to sign him during the summer and no sign of progress on extending a contract that expires in 2015.

But Pienaar is not worried about off-field distractions, and feels the partnership is close to its best again.

He told the Liverpool Echo: “The way we combine, sometimes it’s about split-second decision making, it’s the timing. It is coming back, but I’m still getting into the rhythm of it.

“It’s only my third game back from eight weeks off so it’s going to take a while. I was happy to get the 96 minutes against Spurs and my fitness is getting much better. It will take a while but I’m getting there.”

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