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Leighton Baines back in contention for Everton

The fullback has returned to training.

Crystal Palace v Everton - Premier League Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images

At least one Everton player has benefited from the jaunt to Dubai this week, and that’s veteran left back Leighton Baines. Out since November 26 with a calf issue, the Blues’ official website reports today that Baines is back, baby.

It’s great news for the Toffees, particularly since Eliaquim Mangala looks set to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. Ramiro Funes Mori is nearly back, too, but obviously isn’t a true left back.

Speaking to the club website, Baines spoke about the benefit of a warm-weather training trip.

I think we’ll use this trip well and go back and push on between now and the end of the season.

“It was hot, really warm! Obviously, though, it was nice to get back out there and I did the majority of the session. Hopefully once we get back, I’ll be back in full training and that will be me.

I’ve just been doing fitness work really, separate from the group, and trying to get into a condition where I can go back into training. I went back in today, only missed the last part and everything felt good.

I think the trip has been good for everyone. The facilities and the sessions have been great and it’s a change of environment that lifts everyone a bit, and everyone’s been able to do some good work.

Everton suddenly find themselves in a position where European qualification is again a possibility, and so all hands on deck are required - including Leighton Baines.