David Moyes believes a refreshed and revitalised Darron Gibson could be key to Everton’s chances of success in the final third of the season.
The Irish midfielder has endured a stop-start campaign with two separate injuries restricting him to just 11 league appearances.
Gibson made his latest comeback from the substitutes’ bench in the 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion and then earned his first start since Boxing Day last Saturday when Aston Villa visited Goodison Park.
And Moyes says keeping the 25-year-old fit could prove invaluable as the Blues continue to fight on two fronts, both in the Premier League and FA Cup.
Moyes said: “He [Gibson] goes about his job quietly and efficiently, and does the job we require of him.
“I’ve always said that I’m looking for more from him and hopefully he will grow into that, but we have to remember that he has only been here a year and it will take time.
“He has missed a bit of this season with injury, which has been disappointing, but if we can get him playing until the end of the season he will be fresh.
“We could do with that, a couple of fresh players coming into the team and helping us.”
Moyes is also hoping Kevin Mirallas can now get a run of games under his belt and rediscover the form shown before sustaining his hamstring problem.
Like Gibson, the Belgian international has struggled with injuries this season, with the Goodison Park faithful only getting brief glimpses of the winger’s qualities since his move from Olympiakos last summer.
“We are getting them back but we have to make sure we don’t overcook it,” added Blues boss.
“We have roughly been giving Kevin 60-65 minutes in the games recently and he played 45 minutes in midweek for Belgium.
“Hopefully he will be important coming into the last two months of the season when the weather is a bit better and he has settled in more as well.”