Everton manager Roberto Martinez will not risk Phil Jagielka’s long term fitness by rushing him back from his hamstring injury, Express reports.
The Toffees captain didn’t feature in their victory at West Ham but was clearly missed in the FA Cup 4-1 loss to Arsenal last weekend.
Martinez had previously admitted that he rushed Ross Barkley back from injury earlier this season, and will not repeat that mistake with Jagielka.
“Phil is recovering well. Now it’s a matter of assessing him day-by-day and seeing how quickly he can get back into playing,” Martinez said.
“Clearly it’s important he is 100 per cent. I know he’s a player who will at times put himself forward at only 90 per cent to help the team but with the amount of games we have – it’s a nine-week period with 11 games – we need Phil and every player to be fully fit.
“Whenever Phil is 100 per cent he’ll be able to help the team but we need to protect him a little bit and make sure he’s not rushed back into playing too early, which could risk a further period out.”
Apart from Jagielka, the former Wigan boss also has injury concerns with Steven Pienaar, who limped off in the defeat to Arsenal.
“Stevie and a couple of others picked up knocks and bruises as you would expect from such a competitive and demanding game, but we’re going to assess them over the next few days and we’ll find the final extent.
“At the minute there doesn’t seem anything to worry about.”
Everton play Cardiff this weekend in a Premier League clash at Goodison Park.