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Key Everton players still working towards full fitness ahead of Villa trip

The Toffees should have more options on the bench for this weekend’s clash

Everton Training Session Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Everton had only two out-and-out strikers in the matchday squad for last week’s season opener, with Neal Maupay’s futility in front of goal likely costing the Blues at least a point in the 1-0 defeat to Fulham. Tom Cannon stayed stapled to the bench as manager Sean Dyche opted to try out Arnaut Danjuma instead.

For the upcoming trip to Villa Park this weekend though, it looks like lead striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin should be fit enough to participate in some way. The 26-year-old came through a full ninety minutes in a training game against Manchester United on Tuesday and speaking during his pre-match press conference, Dyche indicated his readiness.

“Dom is in good shape. He managed to get the sort of end part of his rehab with 90 minutes, he certainly comes straight back into the thinking.”

Danjuma and Vitalii Mykolenko both missed the last pre-season game, with the former coming on as a sub against Fulham while the latter was on the bench, but both got significant minutes against United too.

“Myko still has a bit to do, and Arnie still has a bit to do with just that real fitness, but a lot of them got 90 minutes in the week, which was pleasing.”

Everton Unveil New Signing Jack Harrison Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Key wide man Dwight McNeil remains at least a couple of weeks out, but is back on his feet and working out again, per the manager.

“He’s going alright, I spoke to him today. He’s just on the light stuff now, not quite on the grass, but getting back in the running and really building a true strength to his ankle.”

The bench will likely look light again though this weekend with Andre Gomes picking up an issue this week.

“The only one, I think, Andre has got tightness in his calf, so we have just got to be careful with that, so just trying to get the base fitness right really for a few of them but they are getting closer to what you would call true fitness.”

The Blues’ third new signing of the summer was young striker Youssef Chermiti who got one half in on Tuesday night.

“He has come in a bit delayed from his games programme; he got 45 minutes in the week, so he is still adjusting and adapting.

“He is very young, but he is adapting to the training and playing, so he will be a slow burner, I think. He is going along nicely at the minute just settling in.”

The timeline on latest signing Jack Harrison’s return from a hip injury is yet to be confirmed, but it does sound like he could be back training sometime around the first international break in the second week of September.