Everton manager Ronald Koeman is hoping to receive positive news on the respective injury recoveries of Michael Keane and Phil Jagielka soon, but concedes the centre-back duo remain doubtful for Sunday's (1 October) Premier League visit of Burnley to Goodison Park.
Keane, a £25m ($33.5m) summer arrival from Turf Moor, missed the 2-1 win over Bournemouth last weekend as well as Thursday night's frustrating Europa League draw against Apollon Limassol after suffering a gashed foot during an the EFL Cup third-round defeat of Sunderland.
While it was always deemed a possibility that the 24-year-old could be fit to face his former employers, Phil Jagielka was expected to be sidelined until after the forthcoming international break, with Everton unwilling to take a risk on their experienced captain's hamstring issue.
"I hope tomorrow to have some positive news," Koeman told reporters at his pre-match press conference on Friday.
"Tomorrow we need to make a decision on Michael Keane and Phil Jagielka, if they are available for Sunday. But they are doubtful."
After seeing a deadline day transfer to Crystal Palace collapse at the 11th hour, the formerly banished Oumar Niasse has defied his critics – most notably Koeman – to thrive against the odds for struggling Everton over recent weeks, scoring against Sunderland and coming off the bench to notch two late goals against Bournemouth.
While the Senegalese forward played no part against Apollon due to his earlier omission from Everton's 25-man Europa League group, he will return to the matchday squad against Burnley. Wayne Rooney is also available after it was revealed that he had not suffered a broken hand following an accidental stamp in the match against the Cypriots.
"He [Niasse] was part of the team and he will be part of the team for this Sunday," Koeman confirmed.
He added: "Wayne had a scan of his hand this morning and there's no fracture. That's OK."
While it remains to be seen if either Keane or Jagielka might be ready, long-term absentees Ross Barkley, Ramiro Funes Mori, Seamus Coleman and Yannick Bolasie all remain out for the clash with Burnley.
James McCarthy, recently named in the provisional Ireland squad for final 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Wales despite having yet to play a single match so far this season, must also prove his fitness with the U23s before he is considered for a return to first-team duty after knee trouble.
"No, he's not available because he did the first part of the session today but not the rest with the players that weren't involved yesterday," Koeman said. "He needs game-time first in the U23s to play. That's the way players need to come back after a long time being injured."