Trio To Miss Sunderland
Gibson, Hibbert and Anichebe all out of Black Cats clash.
Darron Gibson is edging closer to an Everton return but will again be absent for Saturday's visit of Sunderland.
Blues boss David Moyes will also have to make do without right-back Tony Hibbert after he suffered a recurrence of his calf strain, while Victor Anichebe will miss the game due to a hamstring problem.
Gibson hasn't seen a minute of action since a thigh problem forced him off during Everton's 2-0 defeat at West Brom in early September.
The initial prognosis was that the Irishman would miss up to five weeks but added complications have led to an extended spell on the sidelines.
Speaking on Friday, Moyes insisted the former Manchester United man is on the mend but ruled out any chance of an imminent comeback.
"Darron is closer to returning but not for this game," said the Scot. "Victor Anichebe is also out, as is Tony Hibbert. Tony has got a recurrence of a calf strain."
A training injury, Hibbert's problem initially kept him out for five games before he returned to the bench for last month's Merseyside derby against Liverpool.
The 31-year-old did not travel to London for last week's 2-2 draw with Fulham, however, and will again be forced to watch from the sidelines.
Anichebe was stretchered off during last Sunday's Under-21 win over West Brom having sat out the first-team fixture at Craven Cottage.
The Nigerian has made eight appearances this season, scoring three goals.