Ramiro Funes Mori is set to follow Yannick Bolasie and Seamus Coleman in making his comeback with Everton Under-23s, manager Sam Allardyce has confirmed.
The Argentine defender, 26, has recently returned to full training following a serious knee problem sustained on international duty last March.
Bolasie, who missed over a year with his own knee problem, made two appearances for David Unsworth’s side before being handed his first-team comeback at West Bromwich Albion last month, while Coleman’s comeback 10 months on from breaking his leg playing for the Republic of Ireland arrived in last week’s Premier League Cup win over Portsmouth.
And while Allardyce is happy to have Funes Mori pushing to be involved, he says the former River Plate man will also need game time before he’s ready to take up a first-team place again.
“There’s still a fair way to go to get him back into match situations,” the Toffees boss told evertontv. “I think he’ll be training with us for a couple of weeks and then probably have a couple of Under-23 games and see how he progresses from there. I think that is the way forward.
“One of the important things is that when he’s fully fit and if and when he’s needed, he’s available to perform at the level we need him to.”
Allardyce also confirmed he expects goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg to make his return to training early next month.
The Dutchman, 35, underwent surgery on a groin problem in November before requiring a further procedure to cure a hernia.
“Maarten Stekelenburg was very unfortunate that after recovering from his groin problem he’s had a hernia, so he’s now recovering from that surgery at the moment," said Allardyce. "He will probably be fit in the next week or 10 days I would think.”
Tom Davies, who missed the recent games against Tottenham Hotspur and West Brom, is fit again and in contention for Wednesday’s visit of Leicester City.