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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League


Keeping Stoke City quiet both on and off the pitch will be the key to achieving a positive result at the Britannia Stadium, according to Darron Gibson.

Everton travel to the Potteries on Saturday aiming to maintain their lofty position in the Premier League’s top four.

Standing in their way is a Stoke side that is unbeaten in their last six Premier League matches and have conceded just two goals at home this season.

The Britannia Stadium has been somewhat of a fortress for the Potters this term, with defender Andy Wilkinson recently attributing much of that to the influence of their ‘amazing fans'.

But Gibson says Everton are confident they can turn one of the loudest grounds in English football into one of most silent.

“It's always a tough place to go because they're a very good team defensively, and physically they're obviously one of the biggest teams in the Premier League so they're a threat from set pieces,” Gibson told evertontv.

“But we've been on a good run of form the last few games so hopefully if we can keep playing well I think we can go there and get a result.

“The [Stoke] fans are unbelievable there and like a 12th man but I think their size has a lot to do with it. They're well organised and good defensively but they're not impossible to beat at home. If we can go there, play our normal game and play well, I think we'll get a result.”

Gibson’s return to the Everton team has coincided with an upturn in the Blues’ form.

David Moyes’ side have collected five points from three matches since the former Manchester United man recovered fully from a thigh injury.

Gibson added: “Obviously to be out for three months, it was quite a long time. But I worked hard when I was out and I slotted back in straight away which was pleasing.

“I'm happy enough. Hopefully I can just keep it going now over the next few games.”

Michael Owen, who Gibson played with at Manchester United, is not expected to appear against Everton as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury.

But even if the former England international was to feature on Saturday, Gibson would have backed his teammates to win their contest against a man who has so far only made four appearances for Stoke.

“I was only there for a year-and-a-half while he was there but it will be nice to see him,” said Gibson of his former Old Trafford colleague.

“If he plays, he's proved his goalscoring ability so he will be a threat. But I'd back our defenders to be okay.”

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