Steve McClaren’s hoping for a triple injury boost before Newcastle United’s visit to Goodison Park.
McClaren had just four fit defenders for Saturday’s game against Watford, which his team lost 2-1.
The club’s head coach took Steven Taylor to Vicarage Road as cover even though the 30-year-old hadn’t played a game since August.
However, Taylor – who wasn’t involved in last night’s Under-21 Premier League game against Derby County at Whitley Park – will play in a behind-closed-doors fixture this week to top up his fitness.
And McClaren also hopes to have defender Paul Dummett and midfielder Jack Colback – both out with hamstring problems – available for the Everton game on February 3.
Newcastle don’t have a game this weekend because of their FA Cup exit earlier this month.
While disappointed to be out of the competition, McClaren feels the short break will benefit his injury-hit squad.
“I think it’s good, because we’ve had a heavy schedule,” said McClaren.
“We wanted a result to go into the next 10 days.
“We nearly got it, and now we have to do a lot of work behind the scenes in terms of rest, recovery, some injured players back – Dummett, Colback and one or two others, Steven Taylor will get a game as well – so it’s just get bodies back to the training field and then we go again.
“A breather for some, more work for others.
“Onward and forward, and hopefully onward and upward.”
Taylor hasn’t played since late August, when he suffered a hamstring injury.
And McClaren felt the long-serving centre-half – who is out of contract in the summer – wasn’t ready to return against Watford.
However, he was forced to take him to Hertfordshire because he simply didn’t have any defenders to go on the bench, with Jamie Sterry having also succumbed to injury on the eve of the game.
“We’ve had bad injuries,” said McClaren. “We only had four fit defenders.
“We had to put Steven Taylor in who’s not kicked a ball, just trained for one week. We had to put him on the bench. We need players back from injury.”