Everton boss Roberto Martinez is hoping to have Tom Cleverley available for selection in six weeks as he recovers from an ankle ligament injury.
The off-season signing from Manchester United has been sidelined since he sustained the blow in the goalless draw with Tottenham on August 29.
Cleverley had started all four games in the Premier League for the Toffees this term, but is expected to miss their next six fixtures at least.
Martinez, however, is confident the 26-year-old midfielder will return to action sooner than that, estimating the timescale for his comeback at six weeks.
“With that sort of injury, ligament damage, you can normally expect a period of six to eight weeks,” the Spaniard told the club’s official website.
“Knowing Tom and how fit and strong he is, maybe we are looking at the six-week period rather than the eight-week period. It’s along those lines.
“He’s a strong boy and hopefully he’ll be back quicker than any medical report will say.”