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


Roberto Martinez may have been disappointed with Everton’s 2-1 Capital One Cup defeat to Fulham – but he was pleased to see Darron Gibson make his comeback from injury.

The midfielder completed 70 minutes of the third round tie at Craven Cottage - his first outing since limping off with a knee complaint in the pre-season friendly against Real Betis on August 11.

Gibson’s return acted as a timely boost for Martinez, particularly with Leon Osman absent from Tuesday’s game after injuring his groin in the weekend win over West Ham United.

“I thought that for Darron Gibson, after being away, it was important that he got some playing time,” Martinez told evertontv.

“We need that competition and that knowhow, and Darron is a vital player for us. It was great to see him get through that amount of time. It will be very beneficial for him.”

Martinez was also impressed with aspects of Gerard Deulofeu’s performance against the Cottagers.

The on-loan Barcelona youngster showed flashes of his exciting talent in what was just his second start for the Blues.

Martinez continued: “I thought in the first half they couldn’t handle his [Deulofeu] understanding of space and it was unfortunate that he couldn’t find that right decision.

“He was a joy to watch when he had the ball at his feet.”

Tickets for next Monday's visit of Newcastle United are now on general sale. To buy online click here, or call 0871 663 1878.

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