Everton's Irish close to return from injury

Everton have been given a major boost ahead of next week’s crucial Capital One Cup semi-final second leg at Manchester City with midfielder James McCarthy and defender Seamus Coleman likely to be fit.

McCarthy has played just once in the last eight weeks because of a groin problem while Coleman was injured in the first leg on January 6 and was expected to be out for three to four weeks.

“James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman are both progressing really well and I expect those two to be back in the squad after this full week,” said manager Roberto Martinez.

Neither are likely to be risked for Sunday’s visit of Swansea but utility man Bryan Oviedo will be ready after being carried off in the weekend’s dramatic 3-3 draw at Chelsea having taken a blow to the same leg he sustained a double fracture on two years ago.

Midfielder Tom Cleverley is also set to face the Swans after being an unused sub at Stamford Bridge. “There was good news on Bryan Oviedo. We all felt the worst when he left the pitch on a stretcher but it’s been good to see him running in training today and I don’t expect him to be missing from the squad at the weekend,” the Toffees boss said.

“Tom Cleverley made the bench against Chelsea, so from that point of view he was passed fit, it’s just about making sure he gets match fitness.”

Martinez could have Leeds defender Sam Byram on board by the weekend as personal negotiations continue after they had a bid accepted on Thursday but they may have to fend off West Ham, who have reportedly also been successful with their offer. But forward Steven Naismith is on his way out after travelling to Norwich for a medical ahead of a £8.5million move.

Meanwhile Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy admitted his side’s heavy fixture schedule will force him to field a much-changed side again for their FA Cup third-round replay at Portsmouth.

The Tractor Boys will embark on their fifth game in 18 days at Fratton Park and McCarthy, focused on the Championship play-offs, has confirmed Luke Chambers (calf), Christophe Berra (shoulder) and Cole Skuse (hamstring) are on his injured list.

Championship rivals Reading and Huddersfield replay at the Madejski for the right to host Walsall in the fourth round.

MK Dons, two points clear of the drop zone in the Championship, face a tough test in their replay at Northampton, with the reward for the winner a home tie against Chelsea.

League Two sides Yeovil and Carlisle fight it out to see who will play host to Everton in the fourth round.

Bradford and Bury replay at Valley Parade for a possible fourth-round tie at home against Hull.

  • A penalty from Ben Marshall and a goal from Jordan Rhodes helped Blackburn shake off Newport 2-1 last night in their cup replay at Newport Stadium.

Mark Byrne scored for Newport. Both sides finished with 10 men as Chris Brown was sent off for Rovers in the first half and Joe Day saw red for Newport at the death.


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