Everton duo close to return
Everton look set for a boost on the injury front with news that Arouna Kone and Darron Gibson could feature against West Ham United this weekend.
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Former Manchester United midfielder Gibson has been out of action since sustaining a knee injury in a pre-season clash against Real Betis, while Ivorian striker Kone missed the Toffees' victory over Chelsea with a bruised heel.
However, Everton manager Roberto Martinez has been informed that Gibson is 'recovering rapidly' from the blow which has seen him miss the first four Premier League clashes, and that Kone could also be in contention for selection.
Martinez acknowledged the importance of both players as he continues to track their progress ahead of Saturday's trip south to the Boleyn Ground to face the Hammers.
"Arouna should have a very good opportunity to be involved on Saturday," he told the Liverpool Echo. "He has still got a bit of bruising in his bone - he got a knock in training - but we hope over the next 48 hours he will be available to be with the side.
"We need Darron fit too. Darron is a special player and he brings something different to the side.
"He is progressing really well. I would say that from a medical point of view, he is very close to being fit. Now it's the match fitness he needs to get.
"That could take a bit of time and we need to adapt to how the knee reacts to work. But we are really happy to see him ready and really close to being able to be involved and be in the squad."
If the pair do not feature in this weekend's encounter, it is expected they will play a part in next Tuesday's Capital One Cup tie with Fulham.
Meanwhile, summer signing Antolin Alcaraz is still awaiting his Everton debut after undergoing surgery on a groin problem but Martinez believes he is coming close to donning the Blue shirt.
He added: "After the surgery Antolin had in his groin, now he is still recovering.
"We need to make sure that we get him the right program and the medical department is working really well with Antolin."