Dominic Calvert-Lewin has played behind closed doors for Everton as they lost to Chester in a friendly, making his return to the first-team seemingly close.
The striker’s injury problems have been a truly tiresome backdrop to all the Toffees’ troubles over the last few seasons.
Everton have been without their best goalscorer and former England centre-forward, for the majority of the last three campaigns and it has hurt the team badly.
These injuries have become a source of constant speculation as to whether Calvert-Lewin’s problems are just physical, or if perhaps there is a psychological element too.
Certainly, he has spent a long time out with various ailments and his recoveries seem to constantly hit a snag leaving him out for still longer. Will the same happen again now?
While the former youth-team product has his critics, certainly isn’t the finished article and still misses too many chances, he is the best and most potent striker the Blues’ have, by a considerable distance.
Losing him for so much time recently has been very damaging to the team’s chances, contributing significantly to their failures on the pitch.
Last season Calvert-Lewin finally came back from the injuries he had been struggling with then, just in time to positively affect the Toffees’ relegation fight.
In particular, he scored the winner in the penultimate match at Goodison Park when Everton fought back from two down to beat Crystal Palace 3-2 and secure their top flight status.
So far this season Calvert-Lewin has made almost no impact at all.
First of all, he was hurt again just hours before the campaign started, leaving then manager Frank Lampard’s pre-season plans in tatters.
This was compounded by the reckless failure of the club to sign enough forwards in the summer with only Neal Maupay arriving, just before the end of the transfer window.
Since then he was been almost entirely absent for the rest of Lampard’s time in the dugout and as wew all know, the Blues’ have found scoring goals a hugely difficult task.
And then when Lampard was sacked and eventually replaced by Sean Dyche, Calvert-Lewin managed to play just over an hour of the new man’s first match in charge against Arsenal before injury struck again.
Dyche’s approach has been to put his number nine in cotton wool and keep him out of the team until he is judged to be absolutely and finally fully fit again.
We’ve had recent reports of him training and gradually re-gaining fitness but as yet he’s not been seen anywhere near the first-team again.
Last weekend though the forward was seen sitting in the stands at Goodison as Everton fell to a hugely costly 3-1 defeat to Fulham.
Now, it appears as though DCL is finally ready to play again after so long out by appearing in that behind-closed-doors game yesterday.
So, could he finally be ready to take some part in the Blues’ latest battle against the drop? Maybe he might play in the weekend’s clash at Crystal Palace, which would have a nice symetry to it given what happened last season.
To be honest, I’m not betting on it and I’ll believe it when we see him actually turning out for Everton in a Premier League game.
I’m also not convinced even if he does return Calvert-Lewin will return will stay fit for long enough to play more than a few games.
But maybe, if I’m clutching at straws, he can somehow stay healthy and contribute some desperately needed goals in time, it just might make a difference.
Because, at the moment after Saturday’s defeat and with a tough run-in to come, it is becoming increasingly difficult to see the Toffees’ repeating last season’s great escape again.