Leighton Baines looks unlikely to return to action any time soon after he suffered a set-back in his recovery from a calf injury.
Sam Allardyce has confirmed that he had hoped the defender would be fit again soon but that he felt a reaction during training this week that will delay his availability to the team.
Baines suffered the injury in mid-November and has missed every game under the new regime which is unbeaten since Allardyce took over from David Unsworth.
“We've had a bit of a set-back with Leighton Baines," Allardyce explained. "He was on the [training] field but has felt his calf again.”
While loan striker Henry Onyekuru is facing an least six months out with a serious knee injury – it could be longer if scans reveal a ruptured ACL rather than just a medial ligament tear – Allardyce had better news on James McCarthy and Ross Barkley, however, with both getting closer to completing their own recoveries from soft-tissue injuries.
“James will play an 11-v-11 tomorrow,” he said. “Ross Barkley is joining in training too, so hopefully he's not too far. Seamus Coleman is still a way off and he's one we'd like to get back and Funes Mori is looking like March.
“It's tough at the moment but hopefully when they do get fit they'll stay fit and bring a bit more to the attacking side of our play.”