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Ross Barkley broken toe confirmed - but comeback date remains uncertain

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Everton have released a statement confirming the England midfielder broken a bone, but the injury may not be as bad as the press are suggesting.

Chris Brunskill

Barkley picked up the injury during the routine 4-0 FA Cup third round over QPR but it was initially thought to be just bruising.

However, when the recovery was slow fears grew that Barkley had sustained a more serious injury and promptly missed the game with Norwich at the weekend.

Scans have reportedly confirmed that Barkley has indeed fractured his big toe but the recovery time fluctuates wildly according to which report you read.

Leighton Baines suffered a similar injury in November and was out for six weeks, but that does not guarantee Barkley will also miss the same amount of time.

We are hearing that the midfielder could yet make the Merseyside derby at Anfield on the 28th January, now just two weeks away.

The fact he has joined the rest of the squad in warm weather training over in Tenerife is encouraging and Roberto Martinez has repeatedly stated that Ross is a quick healer.

Everton also like to be conservative when it comes to injury time frames - Phil Jagielka remember was tipped to miss a month with a hamstring strain suffered on Boxing Day but was out for just a fortnight, returning against the Canaries at Goodison on Saturday.

We all hope the injury will heal quickly as Barkley has developed into a key cog in Martinez's side and one that is crucial if they are to maintain their top four push.

He isn't alone though in being on the injury table with Antolin Alcaraz ruled out for two weeks with 'muscle fatigue'.

Alcaraz is a classy player but he seems to be made of cardboard and is unlikely to string a significant amount of games together. We can only hope the medical team can nurse him through the season and maximise his game time.

Meanwhile fellow defender Sylvain Distin could return to the squad for the game at West Brom next Monday, with fellow hamstring victim Gerard Deulofeu eyeing a comeback the following week at Liverpool.

That would leave just long-term injury victims Darron Gibson and Arouna Kone, a real boost in what is one of the most energy sapping periods of the season.