Everton manager Roberto Martinez insists defender Leighton Baines will be fit for the start of the new Premier League campaign.
The defender picked up an ankle injury in Everton’s 2-0 defeat to Sunderland back in May and was forced to miss the final two matches of last season after undergoing surgery.
Baines stated after the end of the campaign that he was hopeful of returning for pre-season training, though he did not travel for the club’s tour of Asia.
But Martinez is optimistic about the England international lining up for the opening game against newly promoted Watford on August 8.
“Leighton is well ahead of where we expected him to be,” Martinez told Sky Sports News.
“I expect him to be able to start the campaign fully fit. I think the first week in August is a realistic target for Leighton and I would say the same for Bryan Oviedo [who is recovering from a fractured foot].
“Both have been progressing really well and I do expect Leighton to be fully fit for the start of the campaign.”