Gibson and McCarthy close on Toffees return

Ireland midfield duo Darron Gibson and James McCarthy could make a return to action for Everton against Southampton tomorrow.

Gibson and McCarthy close on Toffees return

Martinez is not prioritising the transfer window as he believes he has enough resources at his disposal, with several injured players on the mend.

The Spaniard admits the coming weeks will have a significant bearing on how their season turns out but he is backing the players he has at his disposal to get them through.

With midfielders McCarthy, Gibson and Leon Osman all close to a return after injury, and defender John Stones and striker Arouna Kone approaching full fitness after long spells on the sidelines, Martinez believes he has enough resources at his disposal.

“We will always work hard to try to see what we can do but it is not a priority in this window,” Martinez said.

“Darron Gibson (knee) will be joining the group today and we will assess him after that and James McCarthy (hamstring) is making good progress and both will be assessed before the Southampton game. It is a 50-50 situation for both for Saturday.”

Martinez received some good news on the injury front with forward Kevin Mirallas expected to be sidelined for a couple of weeks at worst.

Meanwhile Ronald Koeman will be calling on the kids this weekend after injury and suspension decimated Southampton’s squad.

The club’s best-ever top-flight start has been brought to an abrupt halt in recent weeks, with Tuesday’s Capital One Cup loss at Sheffield United continuing an embarrassing run of form. That was Southampton’s fifth straight defeat in all competitions, and a result which has had repercussions far beyond denting confidence.

Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama will miss Everton’s visit to St Mary’s this weekend after being booked at Bramall Lane, while Florin Gardos is suspended after being sent off against the League One side.

Those absentees compound a growing injury list, with Jay Rodriguez, Sam Gallagher and Jack Cork joined on the sidelines by Dusan Tadic and Jake Hesketh.

As if that was not enough, Steven Davis and Graziano Pelle are doubts for a match in which Koeman will be relying on Southampton’s much-vaunted youth system.

“Our approach is not different now because we lost the last five games,” the Southampton manager said. “We know that if we have a lot of injuries, like we have, it is one of the philosophies of the club to bring in young players.”

Harrison Reed and Lloyd Isgrove are among those academy graduates with a chance of making a first Premier League start this weekend.

Koeman expects Jay Rodriguez’s long-term knee injury to keep him out for at least another six weeks.

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