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Southampton (A) Sat 20 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Gibson Eyes Newcastle Start

@Everton

Darron Gibson is hoping for his first Premier League start of the season against Newcastle United.

The midfielder returned to match action on Tuesday evening, completing 70 minutes in the 2-1 Capital One Cup third round defeat at Fulham.

It was his first action since damaging knee ligaments six weeks earlier against Real Betis.

Gibson reported no setbacks when he spoke to evertontv at the Club’s official team photoshoot at Goodison Park on Thursday afternoon.

He now aims to be back on the same pitch and in full kit again when the Magpies visit Merseyside on Monday evening.

When asked about his chances of featuring against Alan Pardew’s side, Gibson said: “I hope so.

“It was a disappointing result against Fulham but overall we played well. It was probably a mistake by myself, giving away the free-kick which let them into it.

“It was great [to play]. I’d been a bit frustrated after getting injured in the last game of pre-season but it was good to be back."

Gibson admits suffering his injury less than a week before the campaigned kicked-off at Norwich was a bitter pill to swallow, especially after the endeavour he had displayed through pre-season.

The 25-year-old added: “It was disappointing because I had looked after myself well in pre-season. With the injuries I’d had, I didn’t want to get injured again and then [to get the setback] was disappointing.

“I’ve come back fit and strong so, fingers crossed, I’ll stay injury free now.”

Roberto Martinez has repeatedly spoken of the qualities that a fully-fit Gibson brings to his Everton team.

Indeed, the Spaniard labelled him as a ‘vital’ player to have at his disposal in the aftermath of the 3-2 defeat at Craven Cottage.

Despite this acclaim, Gibson is under no illusions that his place isn't always a certainty.

“It’s nice to hear the manager say things like that,” said the Irishman. “He’s brought new players in and obviously there is a bit of competition in midfield now.

“That’s good for the squad. It makes everyone try harder in training and try harder in games. Everyone is fighting for a place.”

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

Alternatively, visit the Park End Box Office at Goodison Park, Everton Two in Liverpool One or TicketQuarter in Queen Square.

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