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Rafael Benitez hopes Abdoulaye Doucoure can return to boost depleted Everton

The Spaniard currently has at least six senior players injured and Mason Holgate and Richarlison suspended.

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Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure is close to a return after a foot injury (Peter Byrne/PA)

Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure is close to a return after a foot injury (Peter Byrne/PA)

Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure is close to a return after a foot injury (Peter Byrne/PA)

Everton manager Rafael Benitez is hopeful influential midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure will be fit enough to return this weekend to help ease his selection problems.

The Spaniard currently has at least six senior players injured and Mason Holgate and Richarlison suspended for Sunday’s trip to Brentford.

Doucoure has missed four matches with a broken metatarsal but returned to training this week and could immediately go back into the starting line-up, so slim are Benitez’s resources.

“He has been training today so it is one player who maybe could be available. I think Doucoure has a chance,” said the Everton manager.

“Because it is a metatarsal injury if he is fine, he is fine. It is not like a muscle problem where we have to be careful.

“We have to be sure close to the game everything has healed and the player is confident.

“If it is like that it is always a risk when you come back from injury but not a massive risk.”

Benitez also received better news on Demarai Gray, who was forced off with a groin problem against Manchester City last weekend.

“He was doing a very light training session today so we will see if he can be available. Maybe we don’t have too much time but it (the injury) was less than we were expecting.”

Benitez will still definitely be without Yerry Mina (hamstring), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (thigh), Andre Gomes (calf) and Tom Davies (knee),

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