Pickford Fit For Saints Clash

Jordan Pickford is fit and available for Saturday's clash with Southampton at St Mary's (3pm BST).

Everton head to the south coast this weekend looking to build momentum following a morale-boosting victory over West Ham United last time out.

The international break following that win over the Hammers has allowed both goalkeeper Pickford and striker Calvert-Lewin extra time to recover from thigh and knee complaints respectively.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, manager Frank Lampard revealed Pickford is ready to start again, while Calvert-Lewin's involvement is under consideration as the 25-year-old strives to regain peak condition.

"We're considering [his involvement this weekend]," said Lampard on Calvert-Lewin. "With Dominic, we're working to make sure he comes back in the best fitness and strength for us, so we'll see on that one.

"I think any player that has injuries and this sort of recurrence of injuries he's had, it's difficult to deal with because players want to play and they're frustrated when they don't play.

"All you can ask for is that they keep doing the right things to get themselves in the best condition, whether it's rehabbing or when they get back on-pitch.

"We're always searching for the best way to get Dominic fit and keep him fit, because we know the level of player he is, as he's shown here previously."

James Garner, meanwhile, is also vying for a place in Lampard's starting line-up after working on his fitness since his deadline day move from Manchester United and featuring in England Under-21s' 3-1 win over Germany in midweek.

"James, when he [first] came here, he wasn't fit - he declared that to me," explained Lampard. "The process of leaving Manchester United meant he hadn't trained at the top level.

"For West Ham, he was kind of fit, but then it's great that he played a game - and played so well - for England Under-21s.

"Now he's ready to go. He's impressed me in training very much, as a lad and as a player. 

"That's why we brought him here - he has real potential for the now and the future."

The break did come at a cost, though, with Nathan Patterson set for four to five weeks on the sidelines after sustaining an ankle injury during Scotland's Nations League win over Ukraine at Hampden Park last Wednesday.

"It's a blow for us all because he's been fantastic, there's no doubt the level of his performance has been great and consistent," said Lampard.

"He has drive and he's brought energy into the team.

"One thing I will say is that Seamus [Coleman] has been the biggest supporter of that. He is such an amazing teammate, in terms of advising Patts and helping and supporting him when he's been playing well.

"I've no worries about Seamus coming into the team. I'm always hopeful that we get minutes out of Seamus because he has a big influence on the pitch.

"But we want Patts back as soon as possible. I think the four to five week estimate is probably a bit of a positive from where our first thoughts were so let's hope we can get him back quickly."

The Saints clash will come too soon for Ben Godfrey (fractured fibula), Yerry Mina (ankle), Mason Holgate (knee) and Andros Townsend (ACL).

Elsewhere, former Everton midfielder Fabian Delph this week announced his decision to retire from football after leaving the Blues following the expiration of his contract in June.

Delph made 41 appearances for the Toffees - and Lampard hailed his influence during the run-in of a testing 2021/22 campaign.

"No," replied Lampard, with a smile, when asked if the news came as a surprise. "I have a good relationship with Delphy and I spoke with him at the back end of last season. I knew it was on the cards.

"I want to congratulate him on a great career because I think he did have a really positive career. 

"I played against him, he played for his country a good few times and he was a big part in us staying in the league last year in that cameo of a few games he played.

"I wish him well in the choices he makes going forward."