Everton manager Roberto Martinez has confirmed John Stones and Tim Howard are in the mix to face West Bromwich Albion on Saturday (13 February). The 42-year-old Spaniard has revealed the duo are set to return to first-team training, but is not sure if they will be available for the weekend fixture at Goodison Park.
Stones is currently recovering from a hamstring injury, while the American goalkeeper has a knee problem. Martinez explained he wants to assess them on the training pitch before making a decision on their fitness.
"I would say Tim and John have a chance to be involved this weekend ... I've been assessing how they have been in the last three days, but I need to see them in a group environment and see if they can work with the group before they can join the squad," the Everton boss said during a pre-match press conference.
Martinez also confirmed Muhamed Besic will miss the WBA match as he continues his return from injury. However, new signing Oumar Niasse could make his Everton debut at the weekend. "I expect Niasse to train today and hopefully he will play a part on Saturday," Martinez said.
Meanwhile, Martinez rubbished rumours linking Everton captain Phil Jagielka with a big-money move to the Chinese Super League. The Spaniard said he has no interest in selling the player, despite reports of a lucrative offer for Jagielka's services.
"We are not in a situation to lose any players and Phil Jagielka is our club captain," said Martinez. "He has been at a good level and there is no substance in that rumour."