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Injury Report: Barkley could return Saturday

Ross Barkley to return soon, Distin back with the team, and more injury news ahead of Saturday's clash with Aston Villa.

Chris Brunskill

Roberto Martinez gave a press conference Thursday morning, ahead of Saturday's match with Aston Villa at Goodison Park. The biggest news for Evertonians is that Ross Barkley could return as early as this Saturday. Martinez:

"He's desperate to play. It's too early to tell if he's going to be involved on Saturday but I don't see him being too far away."

Sylvain Distin is also available to return to the Everton lineup after his controversial absence. Martinez insisted that the absence was only due to Distin needing rest. Martinez on Distin:

"I considered it was right for him to have a little bit of a break and regenerate but Sylvain is training well and is fully refreshed now. He's ready to fight for his place."

Distin's return comes just at the right time as John Stones will not return until 2015. According to the Everton website, Stones underwent a successful surgery earlier in the week.

Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy, and Steven Pienaar will all undergo further evaluation before being allowed to play on Saturday, but Martinez is hopeful for all three:

"They're very close to being available. If they're not available for the weekend, I expect them to be available for the Europa League game."

It seems that Everton, who went into the international break with a number of key injuries, have escaped that break with no new ailments to report.

Kevin Mirallas remains out with a hamstring injury.