With a watershed match like the derby on this weekend’s horizon, it’s no surprise that a few injured players settled upon the Everton match as their target return date.
What might be surprising is the number of those who actually make it.
In ‘good but not great’ news, Xabi Alonso is done with the gym part of his rehab and is once again running on his mending metatarsal. Although he rates his chance of taking part in the game at “50-50”, the news is certainly encouraging.
I am progressing. In the last few days I have started running on the pitch, which is good news because I’ve been spending a lot of time in the gym.
It’s always a relief to get back exercising on the pitch and at the moment it’s looking good, but I don’t know if I will be fit enough to be ready for the derby. The fact it’s the derby doesn’t make me more determined. I’m always determined to recover as quickly as possible. I want to be back as soon as possible but I have to respect my foot. I have to see how it feels.
Thanks for contradicting me, Xabi.
But, it’s not just the midfield maestro who’s nearing a comeback. While his brother-in-broken-feet, Daniel Agger, still toils away in the gym, Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt and Harry Kewell are all making solid progress and could be available to feature against the Toffees.
While it’s still early in the week, Rafa sounds encouraged.
On El Nino:
He is much better and improving. At the moment though it is too early to say anything about the weekend.
It’s always a risk when a player has an injury and we have to be careful. He is back with us now and working with the physios.
On Dirk and Harry:
Dirk did the warm-up this morning with us and hopefully he’ll be okay for the Everton game.
The news with Harry is very positive as he did the warm up as well. For him, though, it’s too early to talk about the weekend.
So, at the very least, Kuyt should be fit to lead the line (a pairing with Voronin sounds industrious) at Goodison Park. While it would make the derby that much better if Nando, Xabi and Harry were suited up for battle, with an important trip to Besiktas and a date with Arsenal on tap directly afterwards, I’m sure Rafa will make sure they’re properly healed for those critical matches.
But, hell, just having Harry and Dirk and maybe Xabi dressed out would provide the squad with a little pyschological lift. As if they should need one…
I have to say, I’m a bit excited to see Kewell. I get sucked in each and every time, and sooner or later I’ll learn, but when fit (I know, I know) and on his game, he’s a difference-maker. Especially since Harry would fit in so well with the quick, attacking form from the beginning of the campaign which the team is currently struggling to rediscover.
Yet, if holding him out another week or two means that when he comes back, he’s back for good, I’ll take it. The same goes for everybody else.