Everton boss Ronald Koeman has revealed that injured duo Yannick Bolasie and Seamus Coleman are expected to return back to full training earlier than expected.
Bolasie, 28, suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury during a 1-1 draw with Manchester United last December and had been expected to remain sidelined until early 2018.
Meanwhile Coleman, who suffered a broken leg on international duty for the Republic of Ireland, had been expected back just after the turn of the New Year.
The Irish right-back began ball work and running work at Finch Farm a number of weeks ago, showing signs that he was ahead of schedule, whilst Bolasie is yet to get back out on to the training pitch.
Speaking prior to the weekends meeting with AFC Bournemouth, Koeman said: “They are working hard but they need time. They are doing well but it’s not up to me to mention October or November. Normally we expect them back in full training in November.”
The pair will be welcome returns to Koeman's side as their absences have left big holes in the Everton squad.
Whilst Mason Holgate and Cuco Martina have filled in at right-back, Coleman is the Blues' first-choice and offers much more in both attack and in defence than his two stand-ins. Although Coleman is a full-back, he is also a much-needed goal threat in the Everton side that demands defensive respect from the opposition.
Coleman’s returning attacking capabilities also gives Leighton Baines the attacking license he has been lacking since the Irishman’s injury. The England international follows the 28-year-old's lead in getting forward and being a pest around the opponent's 18-yard box as an assists and goal threat.
Similarly, with Bolasie, Everton have missed the pace that the Congolese winger possesses and his ability to pin an opposing full-back in their own half.
Other injury updates
Aside from Bolasie and Coleman, the Blues also have Ramiro Funes Mori out with a long-term knee injury. The Argentine centre-back, who had been expected to increase his role in the team this season, is unlikely to return to training until next pre-season.
Ross Barkley and James McCarthy are Everton's only other two players sidelined with injuries. McCarthy had been expected back for this weekend’s clash with Bournemouth but is struggling for fitness and will return to training next week.
Barkley remains out until mid-November after undergoing surgery on a hamstring injury.