Everton can cope without Baines, insists Jagielka

Everton captain Phil Jagielka is confident the Toffees can cope without the services of left-back Leighton Baines, who is facing an indeterminate amount of time on the sidelines after fracturing his toe in the Merseyside derby, the Guardian has reported.

Baines could be missing for up to six weeks, the newspaper adds, although his recovery period could also be much shorter than that. Jagielka admits that not having Baines on the left of the defence will take some getting used to, as the England international has been one of the first names to be picked in recent years. Indeed, Baines has played in Everton’s last 51 league fixtures.

The left-back slot has always been done blindfolded when the manager has come to write the teamsheet,” Jagielka said. “When someone does get injured and you are going to miss him from between one and six weeks, then there is going to be a little bit of to-ing and fro-ing with who is going to play.

We’ve been fortunate that we have not had to do that so far so we will look at the positives in that respect and deal with what’s to come. I’m sure the manager will enjoy the challenge of coming up with the right personnel and formation to play against Stoke to come away with the three points.

Jagielka added that Roberto Martinez has a number of options as he attempts to replace the former Wigan defender. “Bryan Oviedo wasn’t in the squad [last weekend] but he will obviously be an option. Sylvain Distin could possibly play there, as could Gaz [Gareth Barry] and Seamus Coleman. We just have to wait and see.

When Baines was withdrawn from the match on Saturday, minutes into the second-half, winger Gerard Deulofeu was introduced in his place. The arrival of the on-loan Barcelona starlet saw a positional re-shuffle, with Deulofeu going to the right of midfield, Kevin Mirallas supporting Romelu Lukaku in attack, Ross Barkley dropping into midfield and Barry moving to left-back.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Everton v Stoke

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