It’s that time of the season when nasty cold bugs seem to get around like wildfires, and it turns out Everton manager Sam Allardyce is not immune to it either. Looking visibly unhappy, the manager complained of flu-like symptoms himself during the pre-match press conference as the Blues prepare to travel south to AFC Bournemouth for a Premier League clash tomorrow.
The first question he was asked was if Wayne Rooney would return after missing the last two games with the flu.
“Wayne is better, yes. Quality of player is a big boost, any quality of player that gets fit and comes back into the squad for us is a big bonus. They've been out far too long, some of the players, and the players have been a little bit inconsistent.
“The only thing we've done recently is transform the team into a very good defensive unit which it has been crying out for really, and that's given us a good platform for results and it's still a concern about the amount of goals this team are capable of scoring.”
He went on to update the status of a number of other players, starting with Idrissa Gueye.
“Don’t know yet until this morning. Might be risky for tomorrow, but he might be okay for Manchester United (on Monday).
“James McCarthy should be training out with us today, he'll be fit to be selected again. Wayne is back from illness, Yannick Bolasie seems alright but you can't play all those altogether.
“Wayne has been stuck in bed for three or four days, James hasn't played since Chelsea away, in the League Cup when he came off, and Yannick is just back from 12 months out so all those players will struggle to complete 90 minutes.
“They'd complete it but they would fatigue badly, so I have to be careful how I select the side for Bournemouth, but it will be good to have them back in the squad.”
A big miss recently has been Leighton Baines, who continues to struggle with calf issues.
“His calf is still causing him problems which is a concern, but we expected him to be back not for this weekend, but we were expecting him back in full training next week.
“That doesn't look like it's the case because he's had a setback in his rehab. It's a calf strain but it looks like he pushed it a little too far and as we call it, he tweaked it.”
Fellow fullback Seamus Coleman continues on his long road to recovery.
“Coleman is coming on ok, he's out running with the rehab lads. He's twisting and turning, not really doing any more than that at this moment in time, but he's progressing nicely they say.
“We have a new machine which is the latest in the market so he's a little bit of a guinea pig on that, but it seems to be working from that point of view, to speed up the recovery process and there's a few more players who will be testing it out in the next week or two.
“I would have thought by the results we'll be purchasing one hopefully.”
Finally, the one player everyone’s waiting to hear an update on - Ross Barkley.
“Ross is training with us. At some stage or other, the cautious medical staff will say you can have him Sam.
“I'd like him two weeks ago but that's not to be the case. He's training with us on a regular basis and he's very close to being available to selection.”