Everton manager Roberto Martinez has said that he will not rush defender Phil Jagielka back from injury to cover for the loss of Sylvain Distin, Sky Sports reports.
Jagielka has been out with a hamstring injury since the end of February and is still not fully fit to return to the first-team.
Despite the 31-year-old’s recuperation, Martinez could have his hand forced after defender Sylvain Distin picked up a similar injury last weekend and is likely to miss the next match against Southampton.
“Phil Jagielka has got his own programme and it is important that we follow that and we don’t rush him back,” said Martinez.
“He has been involved with the first-team training now and that is a really good sign.
“We want Phil back as quick as we can but not because we have got an injury with Sylvain.
“We aren’t going to rush and do the wrong things in his individual programme.
“Phil is going to be fully fit very soon and I do expect that he will probably be able to make the squad against Manchester City (on May 3) and that’s always been the plan.
“I do believe that we will be able to reach that.”
With both centre-backs out injured the club may be forced to play a lesser-known combination of youngster John Stones and Antolin Alcaraz in the club’s next match.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Southampton v Everton
Think you know your football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition – £11,000 to be won monthly!