Everton boss Rafa Benitez has confirmed Abdoulaye Doucoure has returned to full training and could feature in Sunday’s Premier League clash at Brentford (2pm GMT).
The Blues boss added Demarai Gray has resumed light training after sustaining a groin injury in last weekend’s game against Manchester City and his availability will be assessed ahead of the match in west London.
Benitez explained Yerry Mina is progressing well in his recovery from a hamstring problem but is “not yet ready”.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin remains sidelined as he continues his rehabilitation from a quadriceps injury.
Midfield duo Tom Davies (knee) and Andre Gomes (calf) are still out, while Mason Holgate and Richarlison are both unavailable through suspension.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Thursday afternoon, Benitez said: “Doucoure was doing light training today, so he could be available. I think he has a chance.
“Because he had a metatarsal injury, if it [Doucoure’s foot] is fine, then he is fine. It is not a muscle problem where we have to be careful so you do not overload.
“We have to be sure he is healed and he is confident. If he is like that, while it is always a risk when you come back from injury, it is not a massive risk.
“Demarai was doing a light training session today, very light, so we will see if he can be available. It [the injury] was less than we were expecting.
“Yerry is doing well but still not ready. Dominic is also not ready yet.”
With Richarlison suspended after picking up a fifth yellow card of the season against City, Benitez was asked how he will approach selecting a side without the Brazilian and fellow attacker Calvert-Lewin.
“At the moment, we have two experienced strikers – Cenk Tosun and Salomon Rondon – available and a young player, Simms, who was injured and is coming back,” the Everton manager added.
“Normally, these kind of games are ones for players with experience and the senior players have more chance [of playing].”
Benitez also explained how he has been encouraged by the work being undertaken behind the scenes at USM Finch Farm in rehabilitating injured players and preventing further issues.
He said: “If you analyse now, we are doing much better in terms of injuries compared to the past.
“We have fewer injuries and we are getting better in this department. Players like [Fabian] Delph, [Jean-Philippe] Gbamin and Tosun, who have been injured for a long time, are now training every day.
“We are bringing players back.
“The problem is we have had key players injured, and this was affecting the results.”