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Arsenal (A) Sun 1 Mar 2015, 14:05, Barclays Premier League

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

Darron Gibson is set to make his long-awaited return from injury when Everton take on Tranmere Rovers in their first pre-season friendly on Tuesday.

The Blues are preparing to make the short trip to Prenton Park for a game which can be watched live on evertontv - and manager Roberto Martinez is ready to give the Republic of Ireland star his first minutes since suffering serious cruciate knee ligament damage while on international duty last October.

"Darron Gibson is fully fit and he looks a refreshed, regenerated player," said Martinez. "He's been training in an impressive, impressive way and I would expect him to be involved with the squad."

Gibson trained with the rest of the first team in Austria last week and was joined by fellow long-term injury victims Arouna Kone and Bryan Oviedo.

Martinez is hopeful the latter duo will soon follow Gibson back to action - but says they will only return when 100 per cent ready.

"Arouna and Bryan are both doing well in their recoveries," he said. "Darron Gibson without a doubt will be ready [for Tranmere].

"The other two, it would be an unnecessary risk at this stage. Arouna and Bryan are still working in their programmes and I wouldn't like to see them in an exposed position where they needed to start thinking about winning the ball and winning challenges and probably putting themselves at risk.

"They are three important players who know Everton inside out, and now they're getting into a position where they want to have a big role on the pitch and they want to help the team. That's really positive because they're three players who we've missed for a long, long time."

Watch the video above to see what Martinez had to say about Gibson, Kone and Oviedo and also how much the Club's young players impressed him during the trip to Austria^.

LIVE - Watch Everton v Tranmere Rovers on evertontv (£3.99). Or get four pre-season games for just £14.99.

^ Users of the Official Everton App will need to navigate to the 'Video' section.

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