Leighton Baines targets Christmas return for Everton

The England international broke his toe in the Merseyside derby

Injured Everton defender Leighton Baines hopes to be fit to play some part in the busy festive schedule but accepts he is currently playing a waiting game.

The England left-back broke a toe in the 3-3 Merseyside derby draw on November 23 and manager Roberto Martinez said he could be sidelined for up to six weeks.

That timescale would put Baines in contention for the FA Cup third round tie at home to QPR but he is hopeful of featuring before that.

"The manager said early on it's quite a broad timeframe that you can be looking at," he said.

"We thought about different things, injections and stuff , but we didn't know whether that would set me back further so we are just trying to let it heal naturally at the moment.

"Obviously the schedule thickens up around Christmas and New Year so you like to think you would be back and available to help the team at that point, but it's just one of those things. You have to wait and see.

"I've not been able to do a lot to treat it because it's a break, so I've just sort of tried to see how it heals really and take it a day at a time.

"It's been pretty dull because you can't do a lot. There isn't that much treatment so it's just been a case of coming in and doing little bits of work in the gym and just hoping it recovers."

Baines has been a virtual ever-present in the side for the last few years and admits watching from the sidelines is tough.

"I have found it really difficult not being involved," he told evertontv.

"You do miss it but I have been quite lucky the last few seasons with injuries. I am trying to use the time as best I can."

Since Baines has been out Everton have picked up seven points out of nine, with wins over Stoke and Manchester United before drawing at Arsenal last weekend.

His replacement Bryan Oviedo scored in those first two matches and Baines praised the Costa Rican for his performances.

"I think both (Oviedo and the team) have done brilliantly," he added.

"The results we have got have been great, we couldn't have asked for much more over the three games.

"It is not an easy thing to do when you've been out the team a long time so Bryan deserves even more credit, not just for how good his performances have been but his professionalism in the way he has looked after himself.

"Thankfully it has made sure the team has got good results."

PA

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