Everton’s Darron Gibson is ahead of schedule as he looks to return from a serious knee injury before the end of the season.
The midfielder, who suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury while on international duty for the Republic of Ireland against Kazakhstan last year has only appeared once for Everton this season.
Speaking to the the official Everton site ahead of their weekend’s fixture, the Everton manager revealed that the player has been working hard to regain his fitness and is set to reap the rewards of that work as he is ahead of schedule for his return.
“Darron is working well and is going to join the group very soon.
“He is out on the grass, though he hasn’t joined in with the group yet. That’s not going to be too far away with how he is recovering.
“The one-to-one work is showing really well and I don’t think he is going to be too far away from joining in with the group, which is a real success in itself.
“He is well ahead of schedule and that always pleases me, to see a player get ahead of the timing because it shows all the hard work they put in behind the scenes when nobody is watching.
“The desire of Darron has been sensational in that respect and to have him around the place is a great sign.
“It will be great for him to be involved one way or another before the season ends, even though that would be an incredible and remarkable achievement since looking back on when the injury happened with the national team.”
“Then it’s about seeing how he can adapt to the demands of working with the group.”
They could, however, be without Ross Barkley who is struggling with a calf injury he picked up last week.
Speaking to the media yesterday, Marinez said
“He is such a powerful boy that he coped with that knock well but obviously it was a problem straight after when the body gets cold.
“He’s such a quick healer and a young man so we hope he is going to recover in time for the game on Sunday.
“Over the next three or four days we will have a clearer idea of where he is and we are going to treat every day as it comes.”
Everton host Arsenal this weekend in what will surely be a crunch game for both sides as they chase down Champions League football and fourth place in the Premier League.
A win for the Toffees will see them close the gap on the north London side to just one point with a game in hand.
Arsenal could welcome Aaron Ramsey back in to their squad as well as Nacho Monreal for the game. The Welshman has been out since Boxing Day with a thigh injury but returned to full training this week. Monreal has been out with a foot injury. Arsene Wenger said that both could feature on Sunday. Wenger told the official Arsenal site
Aaron and Nacho Monreal are back training with the squad, so that is good news. Hopefully they will be available for Sunday. Diaby is back on the pitches, so that is good news.