Everton manager Roberto Martinez is hopeful Tom Cleverley will be at full fitness to return against Arsenal on Saturday 24 October. The former Manchester United midfielder has been ruled out since mid-August when he suffered an ankle ligament injury against Tottenham Hotspur.
The 26-year-old returned to training last week but was not deemed fit enough to feature against his former club at Goodison Park. But after seeing the player come through unscathed in a Under-21 match against Schalke on Tuesday, Martinez believes he will be in contention for the visit to the Emirates Stadium.
"We will see how he [Cleverley] reacts from the game on Tuesday and the next two sessions are very important to measure that," Martinez said at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.
"From a medical point of view I would say he will be 100% ready, it's just trying to work on his match fitness more than anything."
Two other injury victims in Bryan Oviedo and Steven Pienaar also featured in that Under-21 game, playing for 90 and 45 minutes respectively. Pienaar has played just one competitive game for the Toffees in 2015 having been dogged by hamstring and knee problems while Oviedo has not played since April after fracturing his right foot.
While Saturday is likely to come too soon for the pair, Martinez is hopeful they are closing in on return dates. "It was a very significant boost to see Steven Pienaar complete 45 minutes, which was the plan, and Bryan Oviedo played 90 minutes," said Martinez. "It's great to see them looking so sharp and adding to the squad.
"As I have mentioned many times, Steven Pienaar has a different profile. The way he appreciates space, the way he gets on the ball and the way he links up with Leighton [Baines], it's a strong part of our attacking play.
"In a way, we had to grow as a squad to find solutions because we rely immensely on that sort of link-up. It's been pleasing to see how we have adapted but it will be fantastic to have Steven fully fit and to stay fit for the rest of the season."