Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin is a major doubt for Monday’s Merseyside derby at Anfield.
The England international played just over an hour of last weekend’s win over Arsenal but afterwards manager Sean Dyche admitted it had been a risk as the player was struggling with a hamstring problem.
That has prevented him from training this week and puts his participation at Anfield in doubt.
“We’re still monitoring him. It will be touch and go, at best, I would think,” said Dyche.
“We’re hoping it settles down as quickly as possible.
“He put a real shift in, his stats were very good in the last game and unfortunately he’s got a niggly hamstring and we’ve got to get on top of it as quick as we can.”
Losing Calvert-Lewin would be a significant blow as Dyche’s only other options are Neal Maupay, who is a long way from being a target man, and 22-year-old Ellis Simms, recently recalled from a loan spell at Sunderland and with just three first-team Everton appearances to his name.
But Dyche is keen to maintain the positivity and suggested it was an opportunity for someone to stake their claim.
“We adapt to the players that we work with. The obvious two are Simmsy and Neal,” he added on the effect Calvert-Lewin’s absence would have.
“There are different ways the team can operate. I don’t look at one player to try to win games, it has to be a team collective.
“It is a great opportunity whoever plays next. What a game to be stepping into if he is not right. Get ready to take it on.”