Sean Dyche has revealed Jack Harrison is “looking fit and sharp” in training, but says the summer arrival is not ready to start just yet.
The 26-year-old forward has been sidelined with a hip problem since signing on loan from Leeds United.
Speaking in Thursday’s pre-match press conference, Dyche also revealed Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Dwight McNeil have both trained well as they continue to step up their peak fitness from recent setbacks.
On Harrison's recovery, Dyche said: "He’s not ready to start. He’s just back on the grass and he’s going very well. His fitness looks good, but, no, he’s not ready to go yet.
"We just have to delay him a little bit. He’s been out for a few months, but he’s looking fit and looking sharp."
McNeil and Calvert-Lewin continue to improve their conditioning, explained Dyche, who added: "Dwight is only just back fit, really, and probably went back [into the team] a bit quickly, if I’m being honest, and I asked a lot of him in the last performance.
"Dom’s story speaks for itself, but he’s getting sharper and getting more training time."
The latest update means only Seamus Coleman, Dele and Andre Gomes are unavailable for Everton this weekend, along with Harrison.
On Coleman, Dyche said: "He’s not training with us yet. He is out on the grass and making progress, but he’s not yet with us in our group.
"But he’s always around, chatting with the group. He’s a fantastic professional and he’s always around and about, and his opinion is always welcome."
Dyche believes the improving fitness of the likes of McNeil and Calvert-Lewin, combined with the eventual return of Harrison, will add greater quality to his Blues squad, adding: “[The returning players] will certainly help with the depth of the squad and the competitive element around it.
"With all due respect to the young players who have been involved heavily in pre-season, they’re learning and they’re maturing. Some of the [returning] players are in advance of that, with Jack (Harrison) and Dwight (McNeil) when he’s properly fit, and Dominic (Calvert-Lewin)."