Everton's Yannick Bolasie, James McCarthy and Ross Barkley close to returning from injury
By Richard Cooke
Last Updated: 23/11/17 10:10am
Everton interim manager David Unsworth says three key players who have been out injured - Yannick Bolasie, James McCarthy and Ross Barkley - are all close to full fitness.
Midfielder Bolasie, who has been sidelined for almost a year with a knee injury, took part in first-team training on Wednesday ahead of the Europa League match against Atalanta, while McCarthy and Barkley are both expected to recover from hamstring injuries in a few weeks.
Unsworth said: "Yannick trained with us this morning for the first time. We're just gradually integrating him back into the first team set-up. He's a top player, a proven Premier League player and he's got great pace - something that we need.
"To get those proven Premier League players back into the team and into the squad will be a big plus for us. McCarthy is a couple of weeks away, Ross maybe a couple of weeks away, as well."
In another boost for Everton, centre-back Phil Jagielka and midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin are both expected to be fit for Sunday's Premier League game against Southampton, which is live on Sky Sports, but defender Mason Holgate is yet to recover from a groin strain.
Unsworth took over on a temporary basis when Ronald Koeman was sacked last month and the 44-year-old insists he is focused on the job while the club continue their search for a permanent appointment.
He added: "I am in communication with every department. That won't change day to day, week to week, depending on how long I am in the job, until somebody else takes this seat."
Everton are 16th in the table ahead of the weekend fixtures with one win in their last six games.
They have failed to qualify for the knockout stage of the Europa League and play their penultimate group game on Thursday.