Everton latest: Baines injury is 'an opportunity' as Alcaraz nears return

All the latest news and gossip from the past seven days at Goodison Park.

Roberto Martinez is certain that Everton can survive without Leighton Baines. The England full-back could be out until 2014 with a fractured toe.

However, despite the obvious importance that the left-back has to the Everton team, the manager believes the team will cope in his absence:

“When something like this happens it’s an opportunity for other players and can give them excitement. Obviously you never want to lose players to injury, but unfortunately it's a contact game and that will happen. We've had players who have worked hard for five months and deserved an opportunity in the team so they will get that.”

Captain Phil Jagielka echoes that sentiment:

"I'm sure the manager will enjoy the challenge of coming up with the right personnel and formation to play against Stoke to come away with the three points. Bryan Oviedo wasn't in the squad (last weekend) but he will obviously be an option. Sylvain Distin could possibly play there, as could Gaz (Gareth Barry) and Seamus Coleman. We just have to wait and see."

Martinez also believes that a fear of losing his place was behind Kevin Mirallas’ excellent performance in the Merseyside Derby. The Belgian was having his place in the first-team at Goodison Park put under pressure by talented Spaniard Gerard Deulofeu.

However Mirallas performed brilliantly in the game - despite a rough challenge on Luis Suarez.

The Toffees are considering offering a deal to veteran Tony Hibbert. The right-back, who made his debut in March 2001, is out of contract at the end of the season and been injured for the majority of the current campaign.

He is back in full training and a 12 month deal is on the cards for the 32-year-old.

Antolin Alcaraz is approaching his debut for the club - after coming through a behind closed doors friendly unscathed.

The Paraguayan defender signed for Everton from Wigan Athletic on a free transfer in the summer but has been suffering with a hamstring injury ever since.

However he played 45 minutes against Sheffield Wednesday on Monday and could be ready to return to action against Stoke City this weekend.

image: © ericthefish

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch