Everton manager Roberto Martinez expects to be without Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin for another fortnight, but he is hopeful Leighton Baines will be fit for Saturday’s Premier League home game against Norwich.
Captain Jagielka, 31, and central defensive partner Distin, 36, have both missed Everton’s last two matches with hamstring problems.
England full-back Baines sat out last Saturday’s 4-0 FA Cup third-round win over QPR after suffering a back spasm. The 29-year-old is expected to resume training on Thursday, but Jagielka and Distin will miss the Norwich match and face a race to get fit for the trip to West Brom on Jan. 20.
Martinez told Everton’s official website: “Sylvain and Phil Jagielka both have got probably a period of between seven and 10 days, but I would say two weeks is the most realistic time.
“But they are players who recover really, really well from these sorts of soft tissue injuries. They are not major problems.
“Leighton Baines was just a back spasm and he is recovering as we expected, so I don’t think he’s going to be too far from being able to train. I would say Leighton will be back in training on Thursday.
“We’ll then have to assess him. Remember back spasms can be cleared completely or they can leave you a little bit with a lack of mobility. Any player needs to be 100 percent to be able to play and to be considered to play, so we’ll assess Leighton on Thursday, see how he is and take it from there.”
Martinez is hopeful that Spanish forward Gerard Deulofeu will be fit to return to action by the end of January.
The 19-year-old, on a season’s loan from Barcelona, has not played since tearing a hamstring during the 4-1 win over Fulham on Dec. 14, and has been back at his parent club receiving treatment.
Martinez said: “The reports that we’ve had are all very positive. He’s recovering well, but there’s still a long way to go before he is ready to be on a football pitch.
“It wasn’t a straightforward injury that Gerard had, but we all feel very positive that by the end of January, he will be nearing full fitness.”
Meanwhile, defender Luke Garbutt, 20, has extended his loan spell at League One side Colchester for a second month, taking him through to early February.