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Baines closing in on comeback – Martinez

Everton defender Leighton Baines has been declared fit and is in contention to face Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday.

Manager Roberto Martinez will make a final decision on Friday over whether or not to play the 30-year-old, saying he is reluctant to take any risks with him.

The left-back is yet to play in the Premier League this season after suffering a serious ankle injury in the days before the opening match of the campaign, but has trained for the last two weeks as well as scoring in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Preston North End.

“Physically – from a medical point of view – Leighton is ready,” said Martinez. “It is just making sure now we give him the right introduction to get him that match fitness. 

“More than anything it is to get the confidence back of being able to go into a 50-50 challenge without feeling fearful. 

“When you get an injury in the manner he got his, just blocking a simple ball in an action that he was in a good position for, we need to be careful not to stretch him and give him his confidence back.

“We want to prepare his body to be really strong. So we will take it day by day – it is great to see him back in training, the quality he brings is impressive. 

“It is no good to get him rushed back and then lose him for the rest of the campaign. It is important we give him the right adaption period and that when he is back we can use his freshness, quality and experience for the rest of the campaign.

“We assess all of it and make a decision on whether he should be in the squad for Bournemouth or not.”

Thu 26 Nov, 2015
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