Everton manager David Moyes is hopeful Matteo Ferrari can make an impression in the season run-in as he looks to earn himself a permanent deal at the club.
The Italian is currently on a season-long loan at Goodison Park but with talks over Joseph Yobo's new deal seemingly not going anywhere fast, Ferrari will be hoping to prove he is the ideal replacement for the Nigerian.
The 26-year-old has suffered with injuries since moving to England but having now returned to full training, manager David Moyes is hopeful he will show his full potential in the remaining six games of the season.
"Matteo was on the verge of getting a run in the team after Christmas but he got injured against Arsenal," said Moyes in the Liverpool Echo.
"His injury set him back, but he has been fit now for a week or so and he's about the squad.
"Hopefully we will get a chance before the end of the season to see him again.
"Matteo is a good player, he is a good defender, we are just disappointed that we haven't been able to see a bit more of him than we have done.
"But we're hoping that in some of the games before the end of the year, he'll get an opportunity."
As well as Yobo and Ferrari, Everton could also lose current first-choice defensive pair Alan Stubbs and David Weir in the summer, leaving Moyes desperately short of players at the back.
However, the manager is not going to be rushed into any rash decisions regarding any of defender's contracts.
"We won't be discussing any of that until the end of the season," he added.