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 By Mike Whalley

Lacina Traore fitness boost for Everton

Lacina Traore will complete his loan stint at Everton after tests revealed he does not need surgery on a hamstring injury, the club have confirmed.

Lacina Traore sustained the injury while warming up at Stamford Bridge.
Traore was brought in to cover for the January sale of Nikica Jelavic to Hull.

O'Farrell: Lukaku back in style

The Ivory Coast international striker, 23, is expected to be out for another six weeks after pulling up with the problem on Feb. 22.

Manager Roberto Martinez had raised concerns that the injury, sustained in the warm-up before the 1-0 Premier League defeat at Chelsea, would rule out Traore for the rest of the season.

That would have brought an early end to the striker’s stay at the club, as he is only on loan from French Ligue 1 Monaco until May.

Instead, he is on course to return in mid-April, which would make him available for Everton’s final Premier League matches and the FA Cup final, should they get there.

Traore has played just once for the Toffees since arriving from Monaco on Jan. 24.

A separate hamstring injury -- sustained in December, before his move -- initially delayed his debut.

He recovered to score in the 3-1 FA Cup fifth-round victory over Swansea on Feb. 16, but suffered a new setback just six days later.

"With Lacina, we've seen the specialists and we're now ready to proceed with what's going to be the best treatment for Lacina, and it's not going to be surgery, which is fantastic news," Martinez told the club's official website.

"It's fantastic news that he doesn't need to go down that route, as that means he's going to be available for the end of the season. 

"We're expecting between six and eight weeks to be the period he needs to be recovering, but we're all very positive."

Meanwhile, Everton’s teenage defender John Stones has already shown he is a future England international, according to Martinez.

The 19-year-old, signed from Championship side Barnsley for three million pounds in January 2013, has only five Premier League starts to his name.

But all five of those starts have come in 2014 -- beginning with a 1-1 draw against Stoke at the Britannia Stadium on New Year’s Day -- as Martinez begins to use the England under-21 international more regularly.

And Everton’s manager was particularly impressed by the manner in which Stones dealt with the aerial threat of Andy Carroll as West Ham were beaten 1-0 at Goodison Park in the league last Saturday.

The central defender, who can also play at right-back, is with his country’s under-21 squad as they prepare for a European Championship qualifier against Wales in Derby on Wednesday.

But Martinez is convinced that Stones will make the step-up to full international level after dealing so effectively with Carroll.

Everton’s manager told the Liverpool Echo: "I think that was as good a test as John is going to get.

"Making your [full Premier League] debut as a centre-half at the Britannia Stadium is going to test you.

"But when you have to play against Andy Carroll, it’s not good enough just to be strong and physical and cope with 50-50 balls.

"It’s understanding when and when not to challenge, having a good relationship with your partner -- and he was magnificent.

"He showed that we have a future England international at senior level and someone with an immense, immense career."


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