Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti admits signing a centre-back before the end of the transfer window has become a priority after Jarrad Branthwaite sustained an injury in the 3-0 Carabao Cup win over Salford.
With Mason Holgate potentially out until the end of October with a toe injury – although Ancelotti is optimistic the 23-year-old will return sooner – Branthwaite’s ankle problem leaves him with only Michael Keane and Yerry Mina as his two fit senior central defenders.
Even if Branthwaite is not out for too long, Ancelotti wants another option in defence.
“Holgate is out and Jarrad we don’t know his injury and how bad it is, we have to look tomorrow,” said Ancelotti.
“There is a possibility to find a centre-back and I think we have to.
“The Holgate update is that he doesn’t need the surgery so maybe he can recover earlier than normal but I think we can manage until Mason comes back with three centre-backs no problem.”
The Italian was keen on a loan deal for Chelsea’s Fikayo Tomori but he is also attracting interest from Rennes and Everton’s pursuit has gone somewhat cold.
“I am not talking about players that are not here,” was his response when asked about Tomori.
Keane, Gylfi Sigurdsson and a late Moise Kean penalty set up a third-round tie at Fleetwood and even though they laboured somewhat and took 32 shots – just eight of which were on target – Ancelotti was satisfied with the display of a team showing 10 changes from Sunday’s win at Tottenham.
“The performance was good, the spirit was the most important part of this game, a good attitude, a good sprit and all the team showed this,” he said.
Salford boss Graham Alexander was disappointed the scoreline was not closer.
“I felt we deserved that with the way we played and the work ethic we put into the game and the discipline we showed tactically,” he said.
“They’re an excellent team with quality players and they make you work, but to a man our players put in that work.
“I’m proud of them, they looked really like a team and they can come off that pitch with no regrets.
“We did everything we possibly could to try and get a result, we didn’t take a backwards step and I would like to think the players will take great confidence from the levels they can perform at and if we take that into our league schedules, we’ll win games.”