David Moyes is confident Phil Jagielka would be capable of starting his first game in 10 months if he is needed for Everton's Europa League tie with Sporting Lisbon.
Jagielka has been sidelined since suffering a knee injury against Manchester City at the end of April last year and saw an intended run-out for the reserves earlier in the week called off.
The defender has travelled with the Everton squad to Portugal for Thursday's second leg, with the Toffees holding a 2-1 lead.
Everton are without Sylvain Distin, Johnny Heitinga and Tony Hibbert for the tie, while Philippe Senderos is also a worry, and that could lead to Jagielka being thrown into the starting line-up.
Moyes said: "I have a lot of confidence in the boy. He is a really good player and we have missed him a lot.
"Obviously he has not had any games, but sometimes needs must. We will see."
Captain Phil Neville added: "Even if you play three or four reserve games it is still hard to come into Premier League or European games.
"Sometimes it is best to come straight back into it like I did, rather than worry about it.
"It is perhaps better to be thrown in the deep end. He will probably be nervous, but adrenaline will get him through.
"Phil is an old-fashioned type, who knows his strengths. I have no worries about him."
Meanwhile, Everton have confirmed Nigerian duo Yakubu and Joseph Yobo were unable to travel with the rest of the squad to Portugal and had to catch a flight via Amsterdam.
A club spokesman said: "Yakubu and Yobo have had to travel on a separate flight, but will link up with the squad later and train before the match as normal."