Everton's injury problems appear to be easing after it was confirmed that Tony Hibbert and Steven Pienaar are close to returning to action.
The news comes as a further boost to Toffees boss David Moyes after Tim Cahill was able to train last week.
Hibbert has not featured in the first team so far this season after having summer surgery on a knee ligament injury, while Pienaar has been sidelined by the broken toe he sustained in the pre-season friendly against PSV Eindhoven.
Head physio Mick Rathbone told the club's official website: "Tony saw the specialist in Manchester on Monday and he gave him the green light to start twisting and turning and doing some kicking.
"He's making very good progress and is a matter of weeks away from a first-team return.
"Steven Pienaar had another X-ray on Monday which shows he's healing excellently and, similar to Tony, he's only weeks away."
However, Leon Osman remains a doubt for Sunday's clash at Stoke City after suffering a knee injury in the home defeat against Portsmouth.