Fitness Tests For Hibbert And Distin

by Rob Urbani

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Tony Hibbert and Sylvain Distin could come back into contention for Monday’s Premier League clash against West Bromwich Albion.

Hibbert has been sidelined through injury since the Manchester City game at the start of December, while Distin has missed the last two matches after limping out of the FA Cup third round tie against West Ham.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon, Roberto Martinez also revealed that James McCarthy, Darron Gibson, Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar and Tim Howard are progressing well but won't be available for Monday's game.

Aiden McGeady is another who will not be available as he serves a one-match suspension following his red card at Upton Park on Tuesday.

Martinez said: “I would say that Tony Hibbert is the closest [to a return] and we will assess him over the next 48 hours. But we have to be careful that we don’t push him too early.

“Sylvain should be training with the group tomorrow [Saturday] and again we will assess him just before the game to see if he can make the squad.

“James McCarthy and Darron Gibson are not too far away, and Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar are progressing well but they have a bit more of a longer-term recovery programme.

“Tim Howard is well within the six to eight-week programme but won’t be available for the Monday game.

“Aiden McGeady is suspended and apart from that it will be the same squad we had against West Ham.”

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