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Gibson set for return

IRISH midfielder Darron Gibson is finally on the brink of a return to first-team action with Everton after a frustrating two months on the sidelines.

Gibson reported no adverse reaction to a 63-minute run-out for Everton's U21s yesterday, according to coach Alan Stubbs.

Gibson, who had been sidelined by a thigh problem, made his first appearance since early September as the Blues' second string were held to a goalless draw by Reading.

"I thought he did great," Stubbs said. "He's come through the game unscathed so that's a plus point and it's good for him that he's come through it and it's a step in the right direction for his recovery."

The news will be a welcome boost for David Moyes after Phil Neville underwent knee surgery on Friday, ruling him out for up to two months.

"It's important give or take Phil's news," added Stubbs. "It was important to get Darron back and give the manager another selection dilemma. It makes it more important now that Phil has had the operation but it's just good to get Darron back playing again."