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Jags Not Ruled Out Yet

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

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David Moyes has not completely ruled out Phil Jagielka featuring for Everton on Boxing Day.

Reports this week said the defender would be out until the new year with a thigh strain but Moyes has not yet struck him from the squad to face Birmingham on Sunday.

John Heitinga is also a doubt with his ongoing knee problem, meaning there is a potential selection problem in central defence.

But the manager has the opposite problem in midfield, with Mikel Arteta back from suspension and Steven Pienaar also in with a chance of returning from his groin problem.

Victor Anichebe misses the game through suspension following his red card at Manchester City on Monday.

Moyes said at his press conference on Thursday: "We have got the returning Mikel Arteta and possibly Steven Pienaar back from injury as well so we will have plenty to choose from and it could be a difficult decision.

"I'm not sure about Jags, we are hoping he might not be out too long. He is certainly a doubt for the Birmingham game, as is Johnny Heitinga, so we could have a problem at centre half.
 
"Hopefully they won't be out for any length of time."

The manager was also able to report that Everton's training schedule has not been disrupted by the waeather this week, with undersoil heating at Finch Farm meaning preparations could continue as normal.

Moyes also ruled out an early return from loan for Joseph Yobo. The terms of his temporary deal with Fenerbahce do not permit such a move.

Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Heitinga, Baines, Coleman, Fellaini, Rodwell, Cahill, Arteta, Osman, Pienaar, Bilyaletdinov, Saha, Beckford, Yakubu, Gueye.

Tickets for the Birmingham game are still available. Call 0871 663 1878*, visit the box office or buy online. Click here for Christmas opening hours.

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