Everton Under-23s manager David Unsworth has revealed he has fielded a lot of phone calls over the availability of midfielder Jose Baxter, who he believes is on the "right track" as he bids to reignite his checkered career.
Baxter, who has served two suspensions for drug use, was surprisingly offered a one-year deal by Everton last summer and has since been working with the club's impressive Under-23 set-up in the hope of joining a club lower down the English football pyramid.
Unsworth, who has been attracting interest himself in recent weeks including from Oxford United, is pleased with Baxter's progress since returning to Everton despite suffering from a number of problems during the early stages of the season and is challenged to deliver a string of performances that will convince clubs in the Football League to give his a career another lifeline.
"He's on the right track, there's still a couple of months to go in the season," Unsworth told The Liverpool Echo.
"I've had a lot of phone calls about him asking the question about what happens in the summer but that is up to Jose and we've tried to help him, we have helped him and he's been a pleasure to work with."
"When he came to us he broke down three times with muscle injuries which is not normal but it was understandable considering the length of time he'd been out.
"We've had to tread really carefully with him and he's now at the stage where he's coming on for half an hour in games or affecting games so we'll look to give him more minutes under his belt and his performances will determine if he goes anywhere else in the summer."
Baxter made his professional debut for Everton aged just 16 years and 191 days and much was expected of his career at Goodison Park, but problems with drugs seem to have ended his footballing career.
The former Oldham Athletic and Sheffield United star was left "speechless" by Everton's out-of-the-blue offer last summer, and he will hope to continue to take full advantage of the priceless opportunity when Unsworth's side travel to face Leicester City for a Premier League 2 clash next Monday (26 February).