Everton manager Roberto Martinez does not expect midfielder Darron Gibson to return from a foot injury before the end of the season.
Gibson sustained a broken metatarsal last weekend, with Martinez subsequently conceding it would be “difficult” for the Republic of Ireland international to play again this term despite escaping the need for surgery.
And Martinez now says his focus will be on ensuring Gibson is in prime condition for the 2015-16 campaign.
“I don’t think we’re going to see Darron this season,” he said. “I’m not too worried about that.
“My only focus is that he can recover 100 per cent and that he can get back with no worries of needing an extra surgery at the end of it.
“It’s a tricky injury because you’ve got a little bit of concern that if you don’t heal the injury properly it could come back.
“If he can come back in pre-season and be fully fit for the next campaign, I will be delighted.”
Former Manchester United man Gibson has made just 14 appearances in all competitions for Everton this campaign.