Blues Boosted By Baines And Coleman Return

Everton will be boosted by the return of full-backs Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines to the squad for Saturday's trip to Burnley.

Sam Allardyce, speaking to the media at USM Finch Farm ahead of the visit to Turf Moor, revealed the influential pair will travel after overcoming thigh and calf injuries respectively.

It is the first time the Blues boss has had both Baines and Coleman available for selection since he became manager in late November.

And there was further good news after skipper Phil Jagielka overcame a knock to re-join the squad at the Blues' training base, while Allardyce confirmed James McCarthy is walking unaided as he continues his rehabilitation from a broken leg. 

However, Manchester City loanee Eliaqium Mangala could miss the rest of the season with the knee injury he sustained on his home debut against Crystal Palace, while fellow defender Ramiro Funes Mori – who was called up to the Argentina squad for their friendlies with Italy and Spain later this month – will continue to get game-time for the Under-23s after being out since last March with a knee injury.

“Both Seamus and Leighton are back in the squad,” said Allardyce. “Phil has started training yesterday as well so there are a few players back that are important to us.

“Mangala’s injury is going to rule him out a bit longer than first thought. They have reassessed the scans and seen there is more damage than expected and it is highly unlikely we will see him back this season. Manchester City would like us to rehabilitate him so we will do that.

“Funes Mori is not back in the squad yet. He is training but with Jagielka, Michael Keane, Mason Holgate and Ashley Williams ahead of him in central defence. You can see why he needs a bit more training and perhaps another Under-23 game. Then we can see where we go from there.

“Then James [McCarthy] will be next season. It is a long process because of the compound fracture – the wound hasn’t even healed yet. He is walking unaided at the moment, which is a good sign. But he starts on a long road in his rehab, just like Seamus did with his injury.”

The return of both Baines and Coleman is a welcome one for an Everton side looking to bounce back from a frustrating 1-0 defeat at Watford last weekend.

Allardyce expects a better performance from his players against the Clarets, who sit just three points ahead of the Blues in seventh, even though preparations have been disrupted by the snow and high winds this week.

“From our point of view, they have not won a game for a while and there is an opportunity for us to play better than we did against Watford,” he added. “That is an absolute necessity.

“We have to be good enough when we are defending and not to slip up like we did last week. At the other end, we need to be more clinical when we get into the final third. We have to improve on that from the Watford game, where we got into their box 36 times but the conversion rate wasn’t good enough. 

“The weather has been a challenge. But we have an indoor area that we will work on today. It has been the same for us all – everyone has suffered the weather this week. 

“But we have our team of analysts who have everything we know about Burnley and can give that to the players. It is up to them on Saturday to implement that.”

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