Defender James Tarkowski became the latest addition to Everton’s list of absentees after suffering a knock in his side’s pre-season fixture against Sporting CP on Saturday.
While Everton managed an impressive 1-0 victory over the Portuguese Europa League side, the feeling in the camp after the match was mostly disappointment due to yet another injury concern for the doctors at Finch Farm.
Tarkowski limped off the field late in the second half of the game with what appeared to be a problem with his left knee after a collision with an opposition player. The Toffees did manage to hold off Sporting in the later stages without their stand-in captain.
Manager Sean Dyche provided an update after the game saying he hopes the player can return soon and that the injury only appears to be “a knock.” He said: “We are being ultra careful with [Tarkowski], I think it is more of a knock but we’ll check and give it a day to calm down.”
This is potentially a positive update for all concerned as it looks like the extent of the defender’s injury is not as bad as first feared. He could be back soon but no official return date has yet been reported.
The Englishman’s injury will still undoubtedly be an annoyance to the manager as it is yet another name added to the extensive injury list at the club. Tarkowski is also a leader in the group and is the captain in Seamus Coleman’s absence, also through injury.
The centre-back may not be out for long but an injury this close to the start of the league campaign has still put him in doubt for the opening weekend. The 30-year-old would surely have been hoping for a smoother start to the season.
Dyche was already without captain Seamus Coleman and Dele Alli before winger Dwight McNeil and new signing Arnaut Danjuma picked up injuries on their pre-season tour. Given Everton’s woeful goal-scoring record last season, this was a huge blow.
But fortunately for the Merseyside club, it looks as though Danjuma has recovered from his injury as he has started training with the first-team and was an unused substitute in the game against Sporting. Long-time absentee Dominic Calvert-Lewin also returned back to action, scoring the winning goal from the spot in the game on Saturday.
Everton are set to kick-off their Premier League campaign on August 12 against Fulham at Goodison Park and Dyche is expected to name a mixed starting lineup as his hand will be forced due to many first-team players sidelined by injury.