Pienaar Could Return At Hull
South African may make comeback after two months out.
Steven Pienaar could make his first appearance in two months when Everton bring the curtain down on the 2013/14 season against Hull City on Sunday.
The South African has been absent since limping off in the Blues' FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Arsenal at the beginning of March with a knee cartilage problem.
Pienaar has missed the last 10 matches but Roberto Martinez is hopeful the winger, who has now returned to training, will be fit enough to be considered for selection at the KC Stadium.
Martinez has also been handed another end-of season boost with the news that Darron Gibson has also been able to re-join the first-team group at Finch Farm.
Gibson has been sidelined since October after he ruptured his cruciate ligament on international duty with the Republic of Ireland.
“Steven Pienaar has been working with the team and that is very positive,” Martinez told evertontv. “We will assess him before Sunday to see whether he can play a part or not.
“Darron Gibson has been working with the team as well. That is really good timing because he has been able to finish the season strong from his point of view.
“I don’t know if Darron will make it in time to be involved with the squad [for Hull City] but it is a positive sign nonetheless.
“From that point of view it is the same squad that we had for Manchester City, apart from Ryan Ledson, who is going to join the England Under-17s setup at the European Championships where we wish him well.”
Phil Jagielka made his comeback from injury on Saturday evening against Manchester City, completing just over an hour’s worth of action before he was replaced by Gerard Deulofeu.
Martinez was pleased with the captain’s return – for reasons relating to both club and country.
Jagielka is expected to be part of Roy Hodgson’s 23-man England squad for the World Cup when it is announced next Monday.
Martinez continued: “It was very important because he [Jagielka] has been a long time away from a football pitch. I thought that after the first 20 minutes he got rid of any sort of lack of intensity and rustiness and was very impressive.
“Sixty minutes was perfect for him to complete in a demanding type of game against two of the best strikers in the league.
“I thought he came through magnificently well, so now it is a matter of completing the season strongly and having a good summer so he can start next season strongly as well.”