Gibson on verge of return to Everton action after six months on the sidelines
Published 22/09/2015 | 02:30
Darron Gibson is in line for his first Everton appearance since March in tonight's League Cup encounter away to the Championship side Reading.
The Derryman will be making his bow for the season and just his eighth competitive outing in 2015 if he gets the nod from Roberto Martinez.
Injuries have dogged the 27-year-old during his stay at Goodison Park and his recent absence was accompanied by a drink driving indiscretion that put the midfielder in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
His international manager Martin O'Neill has warned the player that he needs to get back playing football quickly or else his career is in danger of slipping away from him. And Martinez delivered a positive bulletin on the ex-Manchester United man's chances of figuring at the Madejski Stadium.
"Darron Gibson is fully fit and has been working with the group and, with Leon Osman, has been stepping up his fitness programme and that is very, very good news," said Martinez.
"I am very, very excited about Leon and Darron who have had disappointing starts to the season and I'm really excited about those two joining the squad."
O'Neill did name Gibson in his 40-man provisional squad for next month's double-header with Germany and Poland yet conceded that he faced a battle to make the final cut because of his inactivity.
His prospects could improve if he gets on the pitch tonight and forces his way back into Martinez's Premier League plans.
With Glenn Whelan suspended for the German leg, O'Neill will need extra cover in the defensive midfield department.
Developments at Everton will be an extremely important aspect of O'Neill's preparations for the conclusion of the Euro 2016 campaign.
He will be hoping that Everton take a careful approach with Seamus Coleman who missed their weekend draw with Swansea because of a hamstring complaint.
Martinez will leave it to the last minute before deciding if it would be too much of a risk to pitch it in the Donegal native. "From a medical point of view, he could be available but we'll make a late decision on him," said the Spaniard.
The other member of the Irish contingent, Aiden McGeady, has been restricted to just one Everton run-out this term and that was in the previous round where he was hauled off at half-time against Barnsley.
O'Neill is desperate for the Glaswegian to get games and has hinted that he might have to consider a loan switch barring a change of fortune. It would be a major setback for the winger if he misses out once again.
Elsewhere, Ciaran Clark - who has lost out since the arrival of Joleon Lescott - will be eyeing an Aston Villa recall for their local derby with Birmingham, a game that Jack Grealish will be relishing.
Meanwhile, ex-Bohemians defender Matt Doherty has signed a new three-year contract with Wolves.