Tom Cleverley is poised to make his Everton first team return against former club Aston Villa on Saturday, with Toffees boss Roberto Martinez having declared the midfielder fully fit.
Cleverley, who was on loan at Villa from Manchester United last season before joining the Toffees over the summer, has been working his way back from an ankle injury sustained in August. Ahead of this weekend’s Barclays Premier League clash with the midlands outfit at Goodison Park, Martinez told Everton’s website:
“Tom is fully fit now.
“He had a little bit of a cold over the weekend that stopped him from training but he is back now and it is about making sure he gets in enough work in order to be considered 100 percent.
“He is not far away from being available for the squad.”
Meanwhile, Martinez has emphasized it is still too early to say when fullback Leighton Baines will make his first appearance this season.
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Baines — who has also been troubled by an ankle problem — came through 90 minutes of a behind-closed-doors friendly against Preston last week, providing a goal and an assist in a 4-3 win. And Martinez said:
“The (international) break has been exactly what Leighton needed.
“He has been able to have contact with the football and develop that match fitness that he needs.
“We need to be cautious because it was a re-injury, and he has been sidelined for a long period of time.
“We will give him as much time as we can but we are in a positive period. A lot of good work has been put in, he had the behind-closed-doors game and every day in training is another step towards getting him back to full fitness and being available.
“I think it is too early to tell when that moment will be when he can be reintroduced back into the team but certainly every day is a step towards that.”
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Martinez has also revealed defenders Tyias Browning and Brendan Galloway are both doubts for the Villa game due to minor knocks that saw them withdraw from the England Under-21s squad as a precaution.