All the latest news, views and transfer rumours from Goodison Park...
Everton boss Roberto Martinez commented yesterday and the injury status of midfielders Ross Barkley and Steven Pienaar ahead of their crucial clash with Arsenal this weekend, but one forgotten man is also making steady progress from injury, though he won't make it for the upcoming game against the Gunners. That man is Darron Gibson, who has been sidelined with a cruciate knee ligament injury since November, but Martinez says the former Manchester United man is making good progress.
"Darron is working well and is going to join the group very soon," said the Toffees boss. "Then it's about seeing how he can adapt to the demands of working with the group. He is out on the grass, though he hasn't joined in with the group yet. That's not going to be too far away with how he is recovering.
"The one-to-one work is showing really well and I don't think he is going to be too far away from joining in with the group, which is a real success in itself," he added.
Gibson's injury means that Gareth Barry and James McCarthy have had the opportunity to form a strong partnership in the heart of the Everton midfield, and former Manchester City star Barry says Irish international McCarthy is one of the best players he has played with.
“Until you play with someone week in week out it is hard to judge how good they are. I’ve played against him and known he was a good player but until you play with someone and train every day you don’t really know," said Barry. "James, considering he is so young, he is so mature and knows exactly what to do in every situation. It is great for the club that they have a player at that level so young."
“James for me is up there and in terms of playing alongside and influencing games he is up with the best I’ve played with already. He is still young and he will say himself he has still a lot to learn. I’m 33 and still learning as he will find out. In terms of maturity and understanding the game he is up there with the best.”
The biggest news of the day comes on the transfer front, as striker Romelu Lukaku could yet stay at the club. The Belgian is currently on loan from Chelsea, but with Jose Mourinho seemingly not a fan of the 20-year-old, the player's agent has admitted that Lukaku could stay on Merseyside - but the deal would surely come down to whether the Toffees play Champions League football next season.