Everton have suffered a blow ahead of their Merseyside derby with Liverpool as midfielder James McCarthy has failed to recover from injury in time, the Sun reports.
The former Wigan Athletic midfielder has been absent from action after sustaining a hip injury in the Europa League tie against Wolfsburg at the end of November.
The 24-year-old made a partial comeback over the festive period and boss Roberto Martinez was said to be confident he would be fit enough to play a part in this weekend’s derby.
However, the Sun has published a report saying that the Irishman’s return to action has been delayed by another two weeks and he will play no role when the Reds visit Goodison Park.
“James McCarthy will miss Saturday’s Merseyside derby after his hamstring jinx struck again. McCarthy has suffered another reaction and now faces another fortnight out,” the report claims.
His absence has coincided with his side’s struggle for form as Roberto Martinez’s men head in to the Merseyside derby having won just two of their previous 12 league encounters.
The Reds, in contrast, arrive in top form and the goal-scoring return of Daniel Sturridge is likely to give the visitors an extra boost in quality and efficiency in front of goal.