Leighton Baines remains some way short of making a much-needed return to action and is unlikely to figure for another month at least.
The full-back has been sidelined with a calf injury since November when he was had to be withdrawn at Southampton and has missed the last 12 league games.
It was hoped that he might have been able to make his comeback some time this month but manager, Sam Allardyce, says that he probably won't be passed fit for another four weeks.
“It is difficult to say exactly, because there have been that many times he has been due to come back well before now and that has not happened,” Allardyce said.
“I would have thought [the] end of this month, with any luck. Then you have to get game time and training time, even though you have recovered from the problem you had.
“You have to do several days' training with the first-team, then try to get a game with the Under-23s or behind closed doors.
“Then we can see where Leighton is with his physical output and whether he feels anything regarding his injury.”
Baines has been deputised by Cuco Martina during his absence and the addition on transfer deadline day of loan signing Eliaquim Mangala, combined with the restoration to the squad of Luke Garbutt means the manager has options on the left side of defence if he wants to change things.