MAROUANE FELLAINI’S knee injury could prompt David Moyes to make a swift decision on the future of Thomas Hitzlsperger.
Hitzlsperger, a former Germany international midfielder, has been on trial at Finch Farm for the past month having been released by Bundesliga side Wolfsburg during the summer.
As a free agent, Everton are permitted to sign the 30-year-old outside the transfer window.
Moyes has previously suggested that he would know more about Hitzlsperger’s fitness following the current international break.
And Fellaini’s injury, which was discovered during tests while on international duty with Belgium this week, will now come into Moyes’s consideration when debating whether to keep Hitzlsperger.
Everton are expected to be without Fellaini for the next three weeks, ruling him out of the Premier League match at Queens Park Rangers on Sunday week and almost certainly the Goodison derby against Liverpool seven days later.
With Darron Gibson, sidelined since September 1 with a thigh problem, also struggling to be available for the derby, Moyes is short of cover in central midfield.
While Ross Barkley, whose initial one-month loan spell at npower Championship side Sheffield Wednesday expires this week, is an option, the experience of former Aston Villa and West Ham United man Hitzlsperger could prove pivotal.
Meanwhile, Seamus Coleman hopes a debut competitive international appearance this week can strengthen his hold on a regular first-team role at Everton.
Coleman is in contention for the Republic of Ireland in their World Cup qualifier against Germany in Dublin on Friday night.
The 23-year-old has impressed during a recent run of four successive games at right-back for Everton in place of the injured Tony Hibbert.
While earning seven caps for his country, Coleman has yet to turn out in a competitive international.
Injuries to Richard Dunne and Sean St Ledger mean John O’Shea is likely to move from right-back into central defence, and that would leave a vacancy against Germany.
And the former Sligo Rovers man hopes his recent stint in Everton’s defence can convince Giovanni Trapattoni to give him an opportunity.
“There’s a gap all right and I have been playing there for my club recently, which is a bonus,” said Coleman. “If you want to play in the team, you have got to adapt and do what you’re told.
“But there are a couple of other lads in the squad too whose eyes will be lighting up as well.
“I have been in and around the squad now for two years and I haven’t had a competitive match as such, it’s just been friendlies, so if I did get on the pitch, it would definitely be my best moment in an Irish shirt.”
Everton skipper Phil Neville has underlined plans to go into management once he hangs up his boots.
Neville, who has already worked on the coaching staff with the England under-21 squad, is in the process making the transition by earning his coaching badges.