London - Everton's England left-back Leighton Baines has revealed on Wednesday that he hopes to return to action in time for his club's busy festive fixture schedule.
The 29-year-old, who is bidding to oust Ashley Cole as England's first-choice left-back at next year's World Cup, has not played since breaking a toe in Everton's 3-3 draw with Liverpool on November 23.
Manager Roberto Martinez estimated that he would be out of action until early January, but Baines is hoping to recover before the end of the year.
"The manager said early on it's quite a broad timeframe that you can be looking at," he said.
"We thought about different things, injections and stuff, but we didn't know whether that would set me back further so we are just trying to let it heal naturally at the moment.
"Obviously the schedule thickens up around Christmas and New Year so you like to think you would be back and available to help the team at that point, but it's just one of those things. You have to wait and see."
Having won 1-0 at Manchester United and drawn 1-1 at Arsenal in their last two outings, Everton currently sit in fifth place in the Premier League table ahead of Saturday's home game with Fulham.