Everton defender Seamus Coleman could make his return to first-team action against Leicester City on Wednesday (31 January) after recovering from a broken leg suffered on international duty 10 months ago, manager Sam Allardyce has confirmed.
Coleman suffered a horrific double leg when playing for the Republic of Ireland against Wales last March but managed to get through an hour of Everton Under-23's clash against Portsmouth last week.
The former Sligo Rovers star has been training regularly with his fellow first-team cohorts for the last couple of weeks, and Allardyce is ready to utilise his talents against the in-form Foxes, though he has called for patience as they 29-year-old finds his feet.
"[He's] training with us regularly and is in the squad for Wednesday," Allardyce said in his press conference, according to the Liverpool Echo. "Touch-wood from here on in he will have an injury-free run until the end of the season. When he does play, he needs time, as Yannick did after such a long period out. He can't be expected to hit top form straight away but it is very important to have him back."
Coleman is not the only full-back who could make his return to the Everton first-team against Leicester. Allardyce is currently running the rule over Luke Garbutt as he looks for cover for the injured Leighton Baines, and he confirmed that the former Fulham loanee is in contention to face Claude Puel's side.
"We've put him in the squad, he's been out since the start of the season. We've put him in to have a look at him and time will tell," the Everton boss said.
Allardyce was also able to provide a positive update on midfielder James McCarthy, who like his compatriot Coleman suffered a severe leg break during Everton's 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion.
The 27-year-old, who has had to endure rotten luck with injuries for the past few seasons, is currently resting in Glasgow after undergoing a successful operation according to Allardyce, who will decide on the best course of action for the former Wigan Athletic star when he returns to Finch Farm.
The former England manager also confirmed that defender Ramiro Funes Mori has returned to first-team training but is keen to take a cautious approach over the Argentine's return from a serious knee injury that has seen him miss the best part of a year.
"It went well, he's recuperating back in his hometown Glasgow," Allardyce said. "There's not a lot we can do with him just yet, he'll come back and we'll pick the right rehab for him, maybe particular attention for James somewhere in Europe."
"[Funes Mori] is back, another long-term injury but we're taking it steady with him. He doesn't do the whole sessions yet as we're protective of the knee and monitor it on a daily basis."