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Everton struggling for numbers in defence for West Brom clash

Everton v Salford City – Carabao Cup – Second Round – Goodison Park
(Image credit: Peter Powell)

Everton are down to just two fit centre-backs for the visit of West Brom after Jarrad Branthwaite was ruled out for up to five weeks with an ankle injury.

With Mason Holgate already sidelined by a toe problem which could keep him out until the end of October, manager Carlo Ancelotti is left with just Michael Keane and Yerry Mina for the positions in central defence.

Midfielder Alex Iwobi is back in contention after a minor knock but Ancelotti, who made 10 changes for the midweek win over Salford, is likely to recall all his first-choice players including the likes of James Rodriguez, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure.

Matt Phillips and Conor Townsend could be in West Brom’s Premier League squad for the first time this season.

Both players missed the opening-day defeat to Leicester – Phillips with a back injury and Townsend due to an ankle problem – but they each featured against Harrogate in midweek in the Carabao Cup.

Baggies boss Slaven Bilic has signed young midfielder Conor Gallagher on loan from Chelsea in time for the match on Saturday but fellow new recruit Branislav Ivanovic is still building up his fitness. Ahmed Hegazi (hamstring) and Kenneth Zohore (calf) remain doubts.

Everton provisional squad: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne, Allan, Doucoure, Gomes, Rodriguez, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, Virginia, Kenny, Sigurdsson, Davies, Walcott, Bernard, Kean.

West Brom provisional squad: Johnstone, O’Shea, Ajayi, Hegazi, Gibbs, Sawyers, Livermore, Pereira, Diangana, Phillips, Robinson, Bond, Townsend, Bartley, Peltier, Kipre, Furlong, Grosicki, Harper, Field, Edwards, Austin, Robson-Kanu, Gallagher.