Lampard Handed Fitness Boost For West Ham Clash

Dominic Calvert-Lewin could return to Everton's matchday squad for Sunday's Premier League clash with West Ham United at Goodison Park (2.15pm BST).

The Blues striker has not featured this season after suffering a knee injury in the week leading into the 2022/23 campaign.

However, after resuming full training with the squad last week, manager Frank Lampard says Calvert-Lewin is "close" to full fitness, with a late decision set to be made on how the striker will be involved.

"Close," said Lampard in his pre-match press conference, when asked about the 25-year-old's status. "We'll see come Sunday whether he's ready to start a game or not. 

"We have to be careful with him, obviously, because he had a difficult injury, so we'll see for the weekend."

The Everton boss has also been buoyed by the return of Abdoulaye Doucoure, who has fully recovered from a hamstring problem sustained against Aston Villa last month.

James Garner, who is yet to make his debut for the Toffees following a summer deadline day move from Manchester United, is also "ready to be involved" after two weeks of training with the squad.

Lampard said: "[James] is looking good. He's trained really well and I'm a big fan of his as a player.

"I'm really pleased we've been able to bring him to the Club, because I've watched him a lot, particularly last season. I like his attributes as a midfield player and I'm really happy to meet him as a lad.

"He's trained really hard and he's now fit for selection.

"He gives us another option in midfield, a different type of option with his qualities. He's ready to be involved."

Jordan Pickford misses out, though, with the thigh injury picked up in the 241st Merseyside derby expected to keep him out until after the international break.

On the goalkeeper situation, Lampard said: "It's a really big loss because we all know what a great goalkeeper Jordan is for us - a great performer and a big personality. 

"We're fortunate to have a very strong number two in Asmir Begovic at the Club. He trains brilliantly, performs brilliantly and is a number one, for me, in terms of his performance levels. It's a plus that we can have that and a real strength of ours.

"Asmir has had plenty of time now to get his mind in gear, but I think he's always ready. He trains at a high level and I've got no worries.

"We hope Jordan gets back off the other end of the international break. We're hoping for Southampton or Manchester United, with the injury that it is.

"It's a muscle injury so we have to be a bit careful with the rehab and we'll keep monitoring it throughout."

Mason Holgate (knee) and Yerry Mina (ankle) remain on course to return later next month, while Ben Godfrey (fractured fibula) and Andros Townsend (ACL) remain sidelined.

"Andros is working incredibly hard to get fit - that's the sort of professional he is," added Lampard. "To see how hard he works has been impressive.

"I can't give an exact date [of when he'll be available again]. He has a meeting with a specialist in the next couple of weeks, which is a kind of six-month assessment to see where he's at, then we're hoping after that he can start to progress and start to come outside a little bit with the team and all of those things in the right timeframe."