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Baines ready to step in for injured Digne

The former England international is back in training ahead of Friday’s trip to Aston Villa

Leighton Baines Signs a New Contract at Everton Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Leighton Baines is in contention to replace Lucas Digne for Everton’s trip to Aston Villa on Friday after stepping up his return from injury.

The former England international missed all of the Toffees’ pre-season friendlies and the first two games of the season with a thigh problem.

He only returned to training last week but could be thrown straight back into the side after Digne suffered a hamstring injury against Watford on Saturday.

The France defender, who was forced off after 73 minutes, is due to undergo a scan this week to assess the extent of the damage, though manager Marco Silva is hopeful the injury is not too serious.

Everton FC v Watford FC - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

If Digne is ruled out of Friday’s trip to Villa Park then Baines is ready to step in, with the Liverpool Echo reporting that the 34-year-old took part in an extra training session the day of the Watford game to build up his fitness.

Baines began last season as first choice left-back but was replaced by Digne following a 2-2 draw with Bournemouth in late August.

He made just eight appearances in all competitions throughout the campaign but signed a new one-year contract in the summer to extend his stay at Goodison Park into a 13th season.

Meanwhile, Fabian Delph could make his competitive debut for Everton against his former club as he continues his return from a groin injury suffered in the pre-season draw at Werder Bremen.

The 29-year-old wasn’t considered for Saturday’s game at Goodison Park despite being back in training but may be ready for a return on Friday.