Roberto Martinez has admitted he is likely to be without defensive duo Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin for up to another fortnight - but left-back Leighton Baines could be fit in time to feature against Norwich City on Saturday.
Jagielka and Distin have missed Everton's last two games with hamstring problems, while Baines sat out the weekend's 4-0 rout of QPR after suffering a back spasm.
Baines is recovering well and is expected to return to training on Thursday but Martinez has conceded he doesn't expect to see his central defensive pairing in action until at least the trip to West Bromwich Albion on 20 January.
Speaking exclusively to evertontv, the Blues boss said: "Leighton Baines was just a back spasm and he is recovering as we expected, so I don't think he's going to be too far from being able to train. I would say Leighton will be back in training on Thursday.
"We'll then have to assess him. Remember back spasms can be cleared completely or they can leave you a little bit with a lack of mobility.
"Any player needs to be 100 per cent to be able to play and to be considered to play, so we'll assess Leighton on Thursday, see how he is and take it from there.
"Sylvain and Phil Jagielka both have got probably a period of between seven and 10 days, but I would say two weeks is the most realistic time.
"But they are players who recover really, really well from these sorts of soft tissue injuries. They are not major problems."
Martinez also revealed Gerard Deulofeu remains on track to return from his own hamstring troubles later this month and the Toffees chief admitted it will be important to get his players back fit with a Merseyside derby, FA Cup game and encounters with Aston Villa and Spurs all pencilled in to a hectic two-week schedule which kicks off at the end of January.
"We've got a good period now with good games and a little bit of a rest period in between, so we'll use that to our advantage," he added.
"Then we're going into the end of January and beginning of February and another very busy period, so we need to make sure we don't carry any injuries with us."
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