Everton have been boosted by the news Tom Cleverley is closing in on a return to fitness and could be in contention to face Arsenal this weekend.
The midfielder has been on the sidelines for almost two months after suffering ankle ligament damage but there now appears to be light at the end of the tunnel.
Cleverley played for an hour as the under-21s slipped to defeat against Schalke in the International Cup, and he now hopes to be in contention to face the Gunners.
That decision will be made by boss Roberto Martinez, but Cleverley says he feels strong and is ready to step back into the first-team squad.
“There’s nothing like playing football in competitive matches, so it was nice to be back.” he said in the Liverpool Echo.
“I came through okay, I felt quite sharp, especially in the first half, and for me, personally, it was a good hour under my belt and a big step in my rehab. It was always the plan to get 45 minutes to an hour, so I’m pleased to come through it.
“I’ll see what the manager thinks, see how he feels I did tonight and hopefully I wake up in the morning, everything’s fine and I’m available for Saturday if he wants to use me.”
Everton take on an Arsenal side full of confidence following their 2-0 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday night, and will face a stern test at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Everton are priced at 7.40 to win, with the Gunners 1.40 and the draw 4.55