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Jagielka edging his way back to fitness

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Roberto Martinez confirms the captain could be back within 10 days - but would he get back into the team?

Chris Brunskill

Roberto Martinez also confirmed the club have arranged a behind closed doors friendly next week in order for Jagielka to prove his fitness.

The defender hasn't played since the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea at the start of March due to a hamstring injury that has proven worse than first feared.

Martinez revealed earlier this month that he was wary of throwing Jagielka back into the side early for fear he would injure himself still further.

However, with the season entering its final stages the 31-year-old could be coming back to fitness at just the right time.

Martinez said:

"With Phil being a centre-half, I want to make sure that he is 100 per cent to play 90 minutes.

"We are going to organise a behind-closed-doors friendly and make sure he plays 90 minutes before he gets involved with the squad.

"He’s been reacting well to treatment and it has been great to have these couple of weeks regenerating and to have given him every opportunity to make sure he is fully fit. We don’t want one per cent of risk of re-injuring.

"I’m hoping that Phil will be available over the next 10 days but it’s dependant on the behind-closed-doors exercise."

The news of Jagielka's return is obviously a good thing with campaign entering its home straight, but despite being captain would he walk straight into the team?

John Stones has coped admirably in his absence with his fine form even raising talk of a shock England call-up for this summer's World Cup.

Everton have also conceded just eight goals in seven games in Jagielka's absence - four of those coming in one game against Arsenal - and kept three clean sheets.

I suspect that the boss will put experienced Jagielka into the time as soon as he proves his fitness with so many big games to come.But it is testament to Stones' progress that such a move is even being debated.