Everton manager Sam Allardyce is hopeful that Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy will be back for their pre-season this summer.
The 27-year-old had a successful operation on a double leg fracture he suffered in January.
Allardyce has said that while the club's medical staff will make the final decision on the speed of his recovery, he thinks 'with a bit of luck' McCarthy will be fit for the start of next season.
McCarthy will return to Goodison Park to begin rehabilitation on his ankle in the coming days.
Meanwhile, Allardyce has also addressed speculation he could leave the club at the end of the season.
"I am here as long as I win football matches, and if you don't win football matches it doesn't matter how long your contract is," he said.
"At the moment we are in a very good position. I am slightly surprised about the situation (speculation) but you can look at the two differences between us: good at home and not good enough away from home."
He also hit back at criticism of the style of play under his charge.
"Style of play is only brought up by previous people making out from many years ago we were playing this type of football, which is 10 years ago past," he said.