Gibson's Ireland hopes fade as Martinez delays his comeback
Published 20/08/2014 | 02:30
Darron Gibson is running out of time to prove his fitness ahead of Ireland's Euro 2016 opener in Georgia on September 7.
Everton boss Roberto Martinez has indicated that he is not prepared to rush the Derry man back into first-team action and suggested that he is building fitness with a view to next month.
Martin O'Neill names his squad for the friendly with Oman and the serious business in Tbilisi on Thursday, and Martinez's comments reduce the prospects of Gibson being able to stake a claim for involvement if the Irish boss decided to include him in his original selection.
The respective camps have kept in touch about the player's well-being. Gibson has been out of competitive action since sustaining a serious knee injury on Irish duty last October.
"Darron is working really well and is building some better fitness levels," said Martinez.
"We need to make sure after a long spell on the sidelines that all the work we are doing is allowing him to be fully fit.
"It's going to be a very, very busy period in September and everything is working towards that month where Darron can be fully fit and he can have a really good period on the pitch, so it's not a problem at all with Darron."
Gibson faces a battle to feature in his favoured deep midfield role for the Toffees when he is considered fit enough for selection.
James McCarthy and Gareth Barry have built up a formidable partnership in the engine room, while new signing Mo Besic is comfortable in that role.
Martinez has confirmed that Seamus Coleman is now fully available for selection after he was only deemed fit enough for a place on the bench in last weekend's 2-2 draw with Leicester.
Coleman has been troubled by a hamstring issue throughout pre-season and O'Neill had been concerned that it might pose problems with regard to the Georgia trip.
"Seamus was fully fit from a medical point of view on Saturday and that was a real boost," said Martinez.
"He has been working really well, and he was desperate to be part of the squad on Saturday. I think now it's fair to say that he's considered fully fit and ready to join the group and help the team in any game."
Meanwhile, Irish striker Roy O'Donovan is poised for a surprise move to Championship side Birmingham City.
O'Donovan, the well-travelled former Cork City and Sunderland attacker, has been scoring goals for fun in Brunei since leaving Northampton last January to head to Asia and work with ex-Blackburn boss Steve Kean.