Phil Jagielka admits it will be strange not to line-up alongside Leighton Baines in this weekend’s Premier League fixture against Stoke City.
The duo have been mainstays in Everton’s defence for several seasons but, after making 51 successive top-flight appearances, Baines is now set to spend time on the sidelines as he recovers from a fractured toe.
Jagielka suffered a similar injury two years ago but was able to continue playing with painkilling injections.
But scans have shown Baines’ setback – a fractured phalange bone in his right foot - to be more severe than that of the Everton skipper.
Still, Jagielka is hopeful that his England colleague’s time on the treatment table will be minimal.
“Bainesy has probably missed three or four games with a slight hamstring strain over the last five years and the left-back slot has always been done blindfolded when the manager has come to write the team sheet,” Jagielka told evertontv.
“I’ve spoken to him and he is hobbling around a little bit now. I saw at half-time [against Liverpool] that he was struggling to put his boot on.
“I’ve broken a little toe myself and it is painful but unfortunately he has broken one in the middle so it's in more of an awkward place.
“There’s a possibility that once he goes for another X-ray after the swelling has gone down that it won’t be as bad but, as a rule of thumb, bones take a little while to mend.
“Whether he can mask the pain and get through it while the bone heals, we will have to wait and see. He will be a big miss but it gives opportunities to other players in the squad to stake their claim.”
Roberto Martinez explained on Tuesday that Baines could be out for up to six weeks, dependant on the severity of the fractured bone in his toe.
The full-back’s injury means the Blues boss will be forced to alter what has been a settled back-five for the first time in the Premier League this term.
The skipper added: “When someone does get injured and you are going to miss him from between one and six weeks, there is going to be a little bit of to-ing and fro-ing with who is going to play.
“We’ve been fortunate that we have not had to do that so far, so we will look at the positives in that respect and deal with what’s to come.
“I’m sure the manager will enjoy the challenge of coming up with the right personnel and formation to play against Stoke to come away with the three points.
“Bryan [Oviedo] wasn’t in the squad [last weekend] but he will obviously be an option. Sylvain could possibly play there, as could Gaz [Barry] and Seamus [Coleman]. We just have to wait and see.”
Tickets for Saturday's visit of Stoke are still available. To buy, click here or call 0871 663 1878. Alternatively, visit the Park End box office at Goodison Park, Everton Two in Liverpool One or TicketQuarter in Queen Square.