Martinez provides fitness update on three of Everton's first-team stars

Everton

Everton are set to welcome a number of first team players back to their squad after the international break.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has told the club's official site that Kevin Mirallas, Tony Hibbert and Bryan Oviedo should all be close to returns after the international break.

All three players have been unavailable for selection recently after suffering injury problems, but Martinez thinks that are making good progress.

The Spaniard says that both Mirallas and Oviedo have got stronger over the last week, whilst Hibbert is close to being back in full training. 

"The international break is always important for the injured players because you can really focus on their needs and it gives them time to set individual targets," he said. 

"Kevin Mirallas has improved immensely over the past couple of days, Bryan Oviedo is steadily getting a lot stronger and Tony Hibbert is very close to joining the group as well."

Martinez also confirmed that Steven Pienaar is close to a return and it seems that he will have a lot more options available to him for the remaining weeks of the season.

That could be crucial as Everton look to climb the table and make sure they have a strong end to what has been a disappointing campaign.

The Toffees were expected to build on last season's impressive fifth-placed finish this time around, but they have struggled to find any form and have languished in the bottom-half for much of the term so far.

It has led to pressure rising on Martinez, but the Spaniard will feel that his chances of arresting this slump are increased now a number of his first-team options are coming back into contention. 

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