Everton could well be boosted by the return of five first-team players for the visit of Crystal Palace next weekend, heaping more pressure on Roy Hodgson as he looks to arrest the Eagles’ recent slump in form.
Marco Silva has been without the services of Yerry Mina all season thanks to a foot injury he picked up during the World Cup. The Colombian was set to return to action in September but suffered a set-back in training, making the 60 minutes he managed in Thursday’s behind-closed-doors friendly his first serious step back to full fitness since joining the Toffees.
Andre Gomes, a summer arrival from Barcelona has been struggling all season with a hamstring injury but is now believed to also be in line for his Everton debut after the international break whilst Beni Baningime is edging closer to a return following rehab work on an troublesome ankle injury.
Both James McCarthy and Phil Jagielka took part in yesterday’s friendly too, although you’d expect next weekend’s clash to come a tad too soon for McCarthy, given the delicate nature of the leg break he suffered back in January.
Jagielka could well head straight back into the squad to face Palace having recovered from a knee issue which prevented him from making an immediate return to the side following the red card he was shown on the opening day against Wolves; although you do wonder why Marco Silva would look to make wholesale changes to an XI which won back-to-back games before the break.
With Palace desperately in need of a confidence boost, the news of Everton’s bolstered squad is hardly likely to put a spring in our players’ steps but with Connor Wickham and Scott Dann seemingly emerging from our own friendly unscathed, we may have one or two fresh faces in the 18-man squad when we arrive at Goodison Park on Sunday too.