Everton manager Roberto Martinez has revealed that Leighton Baines is still not recovered from his recent ankle injury and says the left-back has been playing through pain, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo.
Baines missed the first four months of the season after sustaining the problem in pre-season training and did not make his first appearance of the campaign until a Capital One Cup clash on 1 December.
He then suffered a recurrence of the issue at the end of January, and only returned from that latest set-back as a substitute in the 3-1 victory over Aston Villa at Villa Park on Tuesday night.
Martinez has said that the 31-year-old has not been able to shake off the injury, and admits that he probably should not have been allowed to feature against Villa.
The Toffees boss told reporters, as quoted by the Echo: "Since the surgery, it has been giving him a little bit of soreness and managing that pain at times has been a little bit difficult.
"When he came on against Villa he felt he had to play through pain at times which is not ideal, so we have to make sure we solve that because it is not fair on Leighton to be feeling pain every time he steps on the football pitch.
"We are going to be seeing the specialist but it shouldn’t stop him from training and being with the group. He’s just been carrying a little niggle, part of the injury that kept him away from the pitch. We need to make sure that final step is sorted and it clears him from pain from now until the end of the season."
Martinez will be hoping to be able to play the experienced left-back in this weekend's clash with West Ham United after Bryan Oviedo sustained a knock at Villa Park.
Baines has played nearly 350 matches since joining his boyhood club from Wigan Athletic in 2007, but has managed just 12 appearances in all competitions this season.