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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League


Bryan Oviedo's performances since stepping into the Everton team have drawn praise from all quarters – none more so than the man whose boots he is currently filling, Leighton Baines.

Oviedo has started – and excelled – in the Blues' last three matches since Baines fractured a toe in November's Merseyside derby.

And the England man says he is pleased to see his colleague enjoying a spell in the limelight - even if it is at his own expense.

Baines told evertontv: “The performances we have put in over the last three games, we couldn't have asked for much more.

“Bryan has come in and it's not an easy thing to do when you have been out of the team for a long time, so he deserves even more credit.

“He has put in top performances. It's harder to come into the team when you have been out of it for a long time, and that's a credit to his professionalism and the way he has looked after himself in between.

“He has hit the ground running, so it was seamless in that sense. Thankfully he has made sure the team has been getting good results.”

Baines and his manager Roberto Martinez admit that it is still very much a waiting game as to when the defender will make a full recovery, though a comeback over Christmas and New Year is hoped.

A return can’t come soon enough for the 29-year-old who had played every minute of Everton’s league fixtures this season prior to sustaining his injury setback.

“I find it really difficult not being involved,” he added. “You do miss it but I've been quite lucky over the last few seasons with injuries and I've played a lot of football.”

Will you be there to see if Everton can dominate Fulham at Goodison again this weekend? To buy tickets for Saturday's game, click here or call 0871 663 1878.

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