England youth international Dan Gosling is on the verge of making his Everton debut as injuries bite at Goodison Park.
The Toffees were without Tim Cahill, Leon Osman and Mikel Arteta for last week's home defeat to Chelsea and Gosling may well have played had he been fully fit.
The 18-year-old, signed from Plymouth in January, has now recovered from a torn cartilage and after playing for England Under-19s last week, manager David Moyes says he is ready to make his first appearance for the club.
That could be in Sunday's crucial Premier League clash with Aston Villa, who have emerged as serious rivals to qualify for next season's Uefa Cup.
Martin O'Neill's side are now only three points behind Everton and have a superior goal difference, adding extra spice to Sunday's match.
Moyes said: "If I had to put him in the side, I would. At the moment, we are quite short in numbers, so he could find himself very close to the squad.
"Another youngster, Jack Rodwell, has been involved already. He came on as a substitute at Sunderland and was on the bench against Chelsea. And Dan would have been, too, had he been fit.
"We have rested him for four weeks now and we are hoping that he will be okay, but if he had not been injured, he would have been close to being in the squad by now.
"He has got good potential. We brought him here in January and he seems to be settling in fine. It is just a shame that he has had that injury."