Phil Jagielka has revealed team-mate Tim Cahill is playing through the pain barrier to help during Everton's current injury crisis.
Cahill returned to action as a half-time substitute in Everton's 1-0 defeat at Manchester United on Saturday, having spent some six weeks out with a foot injury.
Everton have also had to contend with injuries to fellow key players Marouane Fellaini and Mikel Arteta, but Jagielka admits Cahill has been eager to return.
"It's great to have Tim back but I don't think he's fully fit. I think he's still got a little bit of pain in his foot," he told Liverpool Echo.
"But the squad's not the biggest at the moment and sometimes we might need him to come off the bench.
"We'll have to play it by ear and see how much he can play between now and the end of the season.
"It's not just his play, it's his character in the changing room. Hopefully Mikel's close to coming back as well so it might be a little bit brighter for the last couple of games of the season."
Manager David Moyes singled out Jagielka for praise in the aftermath of their recent loss at Old Trafford and the England international hopes he can take his form into next season.
He added: "My form's getting better and my body's feeling a little more normal than it has done for a while.
"It's been a topsy turvy season and I'm looking forward to finishing it as strongly as we can, but beyond that I'm also looking forward to coming back next season and seeing where we go from there."