Osman and Pienaar close to Everton return

Everton midfield duo Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar are on the brink of making their long-awaited return from injury and could feature against Young Boys on Thursday evening, the Liverpool Echo has reported.

The Merseyside club currently have several key players on the sidelines, with Aiden McGeady and Bryan Oviedo the latest names to be added to their injury list, so the impending comeback of two of their most experienced players will come as a major boost for manager Roberto Martinez.

Both Osman and Pienaar have not featured since December, and will both be assessed ahead of the game against the Swiss club, whom they take on in the second leg of their Europa League Round of 32 tie having won 4-1 in the away match. They both played 70 minutes for the Everton U-21 side last week in a goalless draw with Manchester United.

Christian Atsu, Tony Hibbert, Aaron Lennon and John Stones are among the other notable absentees for Everton in what is the first of three games in seven days, with Premier League matches coming up against Arsenal and Stoke City.

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