Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell could return to first-team action this month after making a quicker than expected recovery from an ankle injury.
It had been thought that the 19-year-old would be sidelined until Christmas when he picked up the injury in the 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa in late August.
However, he was on the substitutes bench for Saturday's victory against Stoke City and played for the reserves on Wednesday.
"I was meant to be out until Christmas time so I've done really well to get back by now," revealed Rodwell."Credit has to go to the medical team. I'm a few weeks ahead of schedule.
"Now it's just a case of getting my confidence up and getting a bit of time on the pitch like I did against Blackpool (in Wednesday's reserve match).
"The sharpness will come. It was my first game back in nine or ten weeks so I'm pleased with how it has gone.
"I'm three weeks ahead of schedule so I can't complain, but there are little bits that I need to work on."