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Cleverley close to Everton return

Roberto Martinez hopes to have Tom Cleverley available for Everton’s Premier League clash with Aston Villa this weekend after a recent foot injury.

Since arriving from Manchester United at the start of the season, Cleverley, who spent the previous campaign on loan at Villa, has been hampered by injuries and has only featured on five occasions in the league.

His last outing came against Tottenham in late August, but Martinez is optimistic he could return against his former team at Goodison Park on Saturday.

“Tom is fully fit now,” he told the club’s official website. “He had a little bit of a cold over the weekend that stopped him from training but he is back now and it is about making sure he gets in enough work in order to be considered 100 per cent.

“He is not far away from being available for the squad [to face Villa].”

However, the clash this weekend may come too soon for Leighton Baines despite the full-back making a scoring return in a friendly with Preston North End earlier this month.

Martinez added: “The break has been exactly what Leighton needed. He has been able to have contact with the football and develop that match fitness that he needs.

“We need to be cautious because it was a re-injury, and he has been sidelined for a long period of time. We will give him as much time as we can but we are in a positive period. A lot of good work has been put in, he had the behind-closed-doors game and every day in training is another step towards getting him back to full fitness and being available.

“I think it is too early to tell when that moment will be when he can be reintroduced back into the team but certainly every day is a step towards that.”

Wed 18 Nov, 2015
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