Sean Dyche will again be without Dominic Calvert-Lewin for Everton’s crunch Premier League clash against Leeds on Saturday.
The new Toffees boss has very limited options at his disposal up front and the continued absence of Calvert-Lewin, who was forced off with a hamstring issue during Dyche’s first game in charge against Arsenal, is a major blow.
Calvert-Lewin played against Southampton, West Ham and Arsenal but missed the Merseyside derby against Liverpool due to a hamstring injury. The 25-year-old has struggled with injury over the last two seasons, managing just 28 league games since the start of the 2021-22 campaign.
Manager Sean Dyche has now confirmed he will not be available for Saturday’s crunch relegation battle at Goodison Park.
He said: “The root of the problem is pretty easy for the medical side of things and now it is just time and make sure his body is well.
“We have other good players here and it is more important to focus on them at this stage because facts are facts and Dom’s not available. So until he is, my focus will be on who is available and the team unit which is always more important.”
Ellis Simms, who started in the loss at Anfield, would be one option to start in Calvert-Lewin’s place. Neal Maupay, who played as a substitute, could also be used by Dyche.
Everton have been boosted by the improved fitness of Nathan Patterson and James Garner.
Dyche continued: “A couple of the lads will play tomorrow. James Garner (and Nathan Patterson) will play after a bit of time out in an Under-21s sort of fixture. They’re not there yet, but they’ve been on the grass with us, and it’s time to put it into game practice and take it on next week”
An ankle injury ruled the Scotland international out for several games in October, before suffering a knee injury against Brighton last month.
James Garner has yet to start a league game since arriving from Manchester United in the summer.
Dyche reiterated that the lack of new signings was not for the want of trying and urged patience as he tries to address the imbalances in the squad.
“I came in here with open eyes,’ he said. ‘I know the squad, I know the situation. It’s going to be a big challenge, everyone knows that.
‘The Arsenal game’s a reminder of the quality that is here. Of course the striking department has got less options that you would like in the Premier League, and especially for a club of this size and the expectation of its fans.
‘The squad needs readjusting because there’s lots of players in certain positions. I’m trying to align a situation that is better going forwards. It does take time, we all know that. Within that time, the main focus at the moment is to fast-track that side into getting the points, winning games.
‘Further down the road, of course I’m already talking about what can we do next, exploring many options, being in touch with the right people, getting our scouts working diligently across the board and covering as much of the situation as we can to try not to have this arise again.’