Everton’s Phil Jagielka, Gareth Barry and John Stones will undergo late fitness tests ahead of the FA Cup semi-final clash with Manchester United.
Manager Roberto Martinez is sweating over the availability of three of his key players after the trio suffered injuries in the past couple of weeks.
Club captain Jagielka has been sidelined since limping off with a hamstring strain in the 1-1 draw with Watford.
Barry and Stones, meanwhile, were forced from the field in the 4-0 drubbing by Liverpool on Wednesday due to a groin strain and illness respectively.
Martinez is already without the services of Ramiro Funes Mori through suspension, while right-back Seamus Coleman has failed to recover from his own hamstring injury sustained in the 1-1 draw with Southampton.
And with a potential dearth of defensive cover available to him, the Catalan revealed that youth defender Matthew Pennington has been recalled from his loan spell at Walsall to possibly be part of the Toffees’ travelling party.
Speaking to the media on Friday morning, Martinez said: “Seamus Coleman will be missing for the semi-final and we’re going to have late fitness tests for Jagielka, Barry and Stones.
“I’m quite positive about John but it’s hard to tell with Phil.
“Medically I wouldn’t expect Phil to be fit, that’s the truth. But, knowing Phil, he wants to try everything possible to be available, so we’re not going to say ‘no’ and it makes sense to keep monitoring him for as long as he can.
“We have recalled Matthew and obviously he will be a part of the squad.”
The Spaniard also revealed that Leighton Baines, Aaron Lennon and Tom Cleverley did not suffer a recurrence of their own knocks against the Reds at Anfield.