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Everton suffer more defensive woes with Yerry Mina ruled out for two months

Mina’s injury leaves Frank Lampard’s side with just two fit senior central defenders.

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Everton defender Yerry Mina has been ruled out for at least two months (Peter Byrne/PA)

Everton defender Yerry Mina has been ruled out for at least two months (Peter Byrne/PA)

Everton defender Yerry Mina has been ruled out for at least two months (Peter Byrne/PA)

Everton manager Frank Lampard has suffered another significant blow in his battle to drag his side away from a relegation battle after defender Yerry Mina was ruled out for at least two months.

The Colombia international’s thigh injury means the new Toffees boss has lost centre-backs in successive matches after Ben Godfrey was ruled out until March with a hamstring problem sustained in Lampard’s first game.

It puts added pressure on the former Chelsea head coach early on in his reign, as he has preferred a 3-4-3 formation but has now been reduced to just two senior central defenders in Michael Keane and Mason Holgate.

The 19-year-old Jarrad Branthwaite, who has made just eight appearances, is the other recognised centre-back while captain Seamus Coleman could be moved inside as another option.

“Yerry Mina is an unfortunate injury which will be between eight to 10 weeks,” said Lampard ahead of another crucial clash near the foot of the table at home to Leeds.

“It’s a strong injury around his quad. Disappointing for us all. In the week I’ve been here I’ve realised he is a big leader in the group, a top player, and a big miss.

“We were aware straight away and our worst fears were confirmed a day or so later in terms of being out for a while.

“Yerry is a big personality here. He’s a positive man who we will miss but, at the same time, we have to be positive around him and move on in the short term until he is back.”

Forward Demarai Gray will also miss Saturday’s game with a hip problem sustained at Newcastle, as will left-back Vitalii Mykolenko, while midfielders Abdoulaye Doucoure, Fabian Delph and Tom Davies are longer-term absentees.

Defeat at St James’ Park left Everton just two points above the bottom three, although they do have at least one match in hand on most of their relegation rivals.

But just one league win since September and six points from a possible 45 has seen the side get sucked into an unfamiliar position.

Lampard, however, is confident the players have the character to deal with the pressure.

“I think a lot is made out of ‘Have you been in a relegation battle before?’” he added.

“Maybe we’ll have to adjust around it at different times, but I have confidence in the squad anyway and we just have to dig in.

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“There are areas we will have to dig in in this short term particularly until we can get these players back.

“I believe in the squad and sometimes digging in is the only way, particularly in our league position, so I won’t complain too much.”

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