Gomes picked up an unspecified injury which saw him sit out preparations for the Blues’ return for a week, but speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday, Ancelotti was happy to report the Portuguese midfielder has made a full recovery:
“I think Gomes is really important for us. He’s comfortable on the pitch; we are really pleased he is back.”
Less fortunate are Yerry Mina and Fabian Delph, who Ancelotti said will miss Sunday’s game despite hopes earlier in the week that both would recover in time from their respective muscle injuries.
Mina and Delph join longer-time absentees Jean-Philippe Gbamin, who will likely not be back until 2021 with an achilles problem, and Theo Walcott, who may return in July following abdominal surgery, on the sidelines.
On Gbamin, who has endured rotten luck since joining Everton last summer having suffered several injuries and not played at all since August, Ancelotti gave him his backing in recovery, but conceded it will be a while until the midfielder is back yet:
“Of course he’s not happy, but I think he’s strong enough to move on quickly.
“The fact that he has had a baby in the last few weeks can help him be strong. [He could be out for] four or five months.”
In Everton’s first game back in action since the Premier League’s coronavirus-enforced suspension, Ancelotti said he is saddened by the fact that the campaign can only be completed behind closed doors, but respected this is the best-case scenario under grim circumstances.
He also stressed he is glad that the derby was eventually given the go-ahead to be played at Goodison Park, after initial fears that this was too ‘high-profile’ a fixture and would need moving to a neutral venue.
“I’m pleased that the game is at Goodison Park but I’m not pleased that the game will be without supporters.
“I know the Everton fans look for this game; we know really well what we have to do. We have to play a perfect game showing character, sacrifice and personality. We don’t know how the players will react without supporters; we will see.
“Everyone in football says your supporters are the 12th man, but we have to respect the procedure. I hope that soon we can have supporters; we have to manage this situation as best we can.”