Mateusz Hewelt is champing at the bit to return to action - and is hoping to make his comeback from injury in tonight’s Checkatrade Trophy clash against Lincoln City.
The young goalkeeper, who was almost an ever-present as Everton Under-23s were crowned Premier League 2 champions in 2016/17, has not yet made a competitive appearance this season after sustaining an ankle injury.
But after resuming training earlier this month, he is in contention to start for an Everton Under-21 side that will take on the Imps at Sincil Bank this evening (7.45pm kick-off).
The Toffees head into the clash looking for their first points in the group stage of this year’s competition, having suffered a 2-1 away defeat to Notts County in the first round of fixtures.
“It was a frustrating time to get injured for me because, with it happening at the start of pre-season, it has meant I’ve not played competitively for the best part of six months,” Hewelt told evertontv.
“But I’m feeling good now. I’ve been back in full training for a week or so now and I’m just looking forward to being back out there again.
“It’s a great competition for us to be in because it’s men’s football and always very competitive.
“We know Lincoln are a good, strong, physical side. You just have to look at what they did in the FA Cup last year [when they reached the quarter-finals] to see how much quality they have and how they can cope with cup competitions.
“It’s a big challenge for us but all the lads are really looking forward to it. We know that we’ll have to be at our best to get a positive result.
“Hopefully it’s a chance for me to get back into it as well.”
After regaining full fitness, Hewelt will now compete for a place in the young Blues’ starting line-up with fellow custodians Louis Gray, Chris Renshaw and Joe Hilton.
“I’m fully focused on getting back to the level I was at before the injury,” he added. “I want to re-establish myself in the Under-23s side and, if it's right, then possibly look at going out on loan in January.”
Head back to evertonfc.com later this evening to keep up with tonight’s game via our live blog. There will also be a match report and reaction after the final whistle.