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 By Mike Whalley
Aug 17, 2014

Naismith: Toffees can cover Barkley

Steven Naismith scored Everton's second goal on Saturday in their 2-2 draw with Leicester.

Everton forward Steven Naismith says he is sure they will be able to cope without the injured Ross Barkley.

England international Barkley was ruled out of Saturday's 2-2 Premier League draw at Leicester after suffering a knee injury in training.

Manager Roberto Martinez indicated after the game that he feared the 20-year-old could be out for months -- but a second scan this week will give a clearer idea as to the likely length of absence.

On Saturday, Naismith played between the midfield and lone striker Romelu Lukaku -- a role filled regularly by Barkley last season -- and scored.

The Scotland international, 27, told the Daily Mirror: "I think that's probably where I feel most comfortable. Towards the end of last season, I played a lot in there and Ross played wider.

"I grew up as a striker and I still react and move as a striker when the ball goes in the box, which showed in my goal. We worked all week and everybody was ready for the game.

"People weren't thinking: 'Oh no, Ross isn't playing. It's going to be a disaster.'

"If you look at our bench, we've got Leon Osman and Kevin Mirallas. We've definitely got enough players to cover."

Martinez, meanwhile, is hopeful that the "four or five months" absence he forecast as possible for Barkley on Saturday is a worst-case scenario -- and that the midfielder will be back sooner.

Asked if he thought Barkley would be out until the New Year, the manager told the Liverpool Echo: "No, we are going to be expecting the next set of scans as late as Wednesday or Thursday to make sure the inflammation is not in the knee.

"Medial ligament injuries could go from six weeks up to a longer period -- but it is not an injury that should rule him out for the season."

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