By David Lynch, Merseyside Correspondent

18th Apr, 2023 | 9:40am

Sources: Everton ready behind-closed-doors game amid major Dominic Calvert-Lewin twist

Everton plan to contest a behind-closed-doors friendly at Finch Farm this week as they look to aid Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s bid for full match fitness, sources have told Football Insider.

The goal-shy Toffees have been without their star striker since he sustained a hamstring injury in a 1-0 win over Premier League leaders Arsenal at Goodison Park in February.

And, though it had initially been hoped that Calvert-Lewin might return in March, a setback suffered in training has kept him sidelined well into April.

Encouragingly, a recent return to training has prompted Everton boss Sean Dyche to express cautious optimism that his No.9 could be in contention against Crystal Palace this weekend.

Speaking after Saturday’s defeat to Fulham, he said: “Dom’s going well which is a positive. He’ll be back hopefully in the thinking this week as long as the week goes well.

“He’s had a very good week this week and we want him to have another very good week next week and then we’ll see how he’s feeling.”

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And the Blues’ attempts to ready Calvert-Lewin for that planned return will see them schedule a game at their Finch Farm training ground this week.

Such behind-closed-doors friendlies have, in fact, been a regular feature of Dyche’s reign, with the former Burnley boss using them to keep his fringe players sharp.

But this week’s fixture will be viewed as particularly crucial for Calvert-Lewin, whose cutting edge will be desperately needed as Everton look to avoid the drop.

The 26-year-old scored five crucial Premier League goals to help the club escape relegation under Frank Lampard last term.

He has found the back of the net just once in this campaign, with a combination of injury problems restricting him to only 11 appearances.

In other news, Everton are confident of making a £30million profit if they are to sell Amadou Onana this summer.