The full-back misses tonight’s Merseyside derby with a hamstring injury but could be back for Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United, though a final decision will only be made in the coming days.
“Seamus Coleman will definitely be out for the derby,” said Martinez, “but it’s too early to make a decision before the weekend.”
If Coleman needs any added incentive to hit the ground running upon his return, he might cast a wintry eye on a lengthy piece in yesterday’s Liverpool Echo which argued at least some Toffees fans won’t be bemoaning his absence since, it was claimed, the Donegal man has been “predominantly poor for the last two seasons” and “a shadow of the player” he was when he won the club’s 2013/14 Player Of The Year Award.
The article concluded: “It’s about time the marauding Irishman arrested his decline and started reminding Evertonians just how incisive and important he can be at Goodison Park. It’s been too long since the best of Coleman was seen.”
Meanwhile, Coleman’s fellow Irish international, midfielder James McCarthy, will return from suspension to the Everton side tonight.
In further encouraging news for Martin O’Neill, Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has signalled that Jon Walters is making good progress after his recent knee surgery.
“He’s in and around the building, mainly in the treatment room, and so we are only passing in the canteen,” said Hughes.
“But obviously I’m getting regular updates from the physios and the feeling is he will be available for games before the end of the season.”
And the man himself was also accentuating the positive yesterday, when tweeting a picture of his football boots accompanied by the caption: “Delighted to finally get in these beauties this week.”
Meanwhile, Walters’ and international colleague Shay Given might be licking his wounds after Spurs put four goals past him on his return to Premier League action on Monday night but the Lifford man, who turns 40 today, is still on the brink of making a bit of modern Potters history. Should Given retain his place against Manchester City on Saturday, he will become the first Stoke player in his 40s to play a league game for the club since the legendary Stanley Matthews.
Mind, Given has some way to go to overtake the great man, since Matthews was 49 when he played in a 2-1 defeat away at Leicester in January 1964 — and, famously, even went on to make one final appearance for the club after he’d turned 50.