Premier League action resumes this weekend following the pause in football in a mark of respect after the death of the Queen, with Everton hosting West Ham United on Sunday at Goodison Park. The stop-start period will continue as the clubs then go into an international break before returning to club football again in October.
Manager Frank Lampard spoke with the media during his pre-match press conference today, starting with an update on injured goalkeeper Jordan Pickford who has been out since picking up a thigh issue in the Merseyside Derby stalemate.
“It’s a really big loss because we all know what a great goalkeeper Jordan is for us, a great performer, big personality. We’re fortunate to have a very strong number two in Begovic at the club, who trains brilliantly, performs brilliantly, is a number one for me in terms of his performance levels anyway. So that’s a plus and a strength of ours in the squad.
“We just hope that Jordan gets back off the other end of the international break, we hope that with the kind of injury it is we can have him back then. It’s a muscle injury so we have to be a bit careful during his rehab. We’ll keep monitoring that throughout.
Training ground pictures and videos this week seemed to indicate striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin was training in almost a full capacity, how close is he to a return?
“Close. We’ll see come Sunday whether he’s ready to start a game or not. We have to be careful with him because he had a difficult injury, we’ll see for the weekend.”
The international break is an opportunity for more of the Toffees squad to get back to fitness after a difficult start to the season.
“Yes possibly, there’s a lot of footballing reasons for us too. We’ve made a lot of changes this summer, if you look at the makeup of the team now, if you look at the team that finished against Liverpool, compared to a lot of the teams last season, so the work starts here for us on a lot of fronts.
“Talking about Gana Gueye, James Garner, players that are fresh into the team late in the window like Amadou Onana. So training weeks and possibilities are always good for us on different levels.”
The manager went on to provide more injury updates, starting with midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure, and going on to Yerry Mina, Mason Holgate, James Garner and finally Andros Townsend.
“Doucs is fine, Doucs is fit to be in the squad. Apart from him we are where we were.
“Yerry won’t be fit for a few weeks after we come back from the international break, and probably a similar sort of timeline to what Mason is, probably a couple of weeks after the break. Difficult injuries for the both of them, they won’t be in that batch of games immediately after the break.
“[James] is looking good. He has trained really well. I’m a big fan of him as a player. He’s trained really hard and is fit for the squad this weekend.
“[Andros] is working incredibly hard to get fit and has a meeting with specialist soon.