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Everton consider Barkley for Villa clash

Barkley Everton
Ross Barkley could feature against Villa. Credit: PA

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has to assess whether Ross Barkley is fit enough to make his first appearance of the season against Aston Villa.

The England midfielder has been sidelined by a knee-ligament injury sustained on the eve of the season but returned to full training this week.

Martinez is also hopeful over defender Seamus Coleman (thigh) and midfielders Steven Pienaar (hip) and James McCarthy (thigh) but Kevin Mirallas (hamstring) is still out while defender John Stones is recovering from knee surgery

Provisional Everton squad: Howard, Hibbert, Coleman, Jagielka, Baines, Barry, McCarthy, Besic, Gibson, Naismith, McGeady, Lukaku, Robles, Oviedo, Browning, Alcaraz, Atsu, Pienaar, Osman, Eto'o.

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Barkley could play against Villa

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Ross Barkley has been out for a couple of months. Credit: PA

Everton boss Roberto Martinez says midfielder Ross Barkley is very close to a first-team return.

He [Barkley] is really close. He came back on Monday and has reacted extremely well.

Sometimes you forget what a sensational footballer he is and when you see him a full flow you realise he is infectious around the place.

He is desperate to play and his work this week has been very good. It is too early to tell whether he will be involved on Saturday but I don't see him to be too far away from it.

– Roberto Martinez

Barkley to resume training with Everton

Barkley
Everton have missed this man. Credit: PA

Everton midfielder Ross Barkley will resume first-team training next week, but his return has been offset considerably by the loss of defender John Stones for more than three months.

England international Barkley was sidelined by a knee ligament injury on the eve of the Barclays Premier League season but is now potentially just a fortnight away from making a competitive return.

While that is positive news for Toffees boss Roberto Martinez, Stones' ankle problem - sustained against Manchester United at the weekend - is a significant blow to a defence which, after criticism this campaign, cannot afford to lose someone of the 20-year-old's quality for such a length of time.

On Monday we expect Ross, with the green light from the medical department, to join the group. Now it's a matter of getting him match fitness and getting him up to speed.

Ross has been working really well and I don't expect any setbacks. I expect Ross to have a real clear path to get his match fitness back.

One of Ross' biggest strengths is his physicality and how strong he is sometimes helps in terms of getting his match fitness.

But he has been out for a while and we need to give him the right work now to make sure he is at his very best.

From Monday I want him to be part of it and in probably a couple of weeks we should be able to see Ross in the squad. >

– Everton manager Roberto Martinez

Stones set for ankle surgery and four months out

Stones
Stones pulled out of the England squad earlier this week. Credit: PA

Everton defender John Stones could be sidelined for almost four months as he needs surgery on an ankle injury.

The 20-year-old pulled out of the England squad this week after he was carried off on a stretcher during the defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Specialist medical advice has identified the youngster requires an operation to fix the problem and that will rule out Stones until the new year.

"Roberto Martinez has revealed that John Stones' injury requires surgery and expects the defender to be out for 10-14 weeks," said a statement on evertonfc.com.

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