David Unsworth has revealed midfielder Ross Barkley could be available in “three or four weeks”.
The 23-year-old has missed the entire campaign to date with a hamstring injury but has worked tirelessly behind the scenes at USM Finch Farm in order to return to fitness.
Seamus Coleman (leg) and Yannick Bolasie (knee) are alongside Barkley in the treatment room and Unsworth confirmed they remain longer term absentees.
Speaking ahead of the trip to Leicester City on Sunday, Unsworth said: “We hope Ross is three or four weeks away from being in the squad.
“The long term injuries are as they were, but Ross is closer to coming back.
“They are all still working really hard in the gym. But with Yannick Bolasie and Seamus Coleman, you are talking months not weeks.”
Unsworth has also confirmed that Morgan Schneiderlin is back in contention after missing the midweek Carabao Cup defeat to Chelsea through illness.
The midfielder is joined in returning to the squad by Idrissa Gana Gueye, who also sat out the 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge after his red card against Arsenal.
"Morgan trained this morning (Friday), he is fine,” added Unsworth. “He didn’t feel very well for a couple of days but is fine now and will train as well tomorrow and be available for Sunday.
“Everyone else is fine and the long-term injuries are progressing nicely and working really hard in the gym.”