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Saturday 23 August K.O. 17:30

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Trio's Fitness Race

Baines, Neville and Gibson to return to training this week.

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Phil Neville
Darron Gibson
Leighton Baines
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Leighton Baines, Darron Gibson and skipper Phil Neville could find themselves in a race to prove their fitness in time for Sunday's final game of the season against Newcastle.

Left-back Baines has been out with a hamstring problem since Everton's FA Cup semi-final defeat to Liverpool last month, while Gibson and Neville have sat out the last fortnight after picking up knocks.

But the sidelined trio are set to resume full first-team training this week and could be pushing for recalls for the visit of Alan Pardew's high-flying Magpies.

“We believe they will all probably start training this week," said Everton assistant manager Steve Round. "Whether they will make Newcastle, we will see. But we are hoping that each of them becomes fit to train during this week."

Meanwhile, Round says watching Everton in recent weeks has been a real joy.  

Despite being held to a goalless draw at Wolves on Sunday, the Blues remain one of the Premier League's in-form sides and recently hit four goals in three successive league games.
 
"Yes, very much so," said Round when asked if he is enjoying Everton's football of late. "I really am. Since about the second game Landon [Donovan] came in and the momentum started to turn, we've built on the confidence and played better and better.

"And these last six or seven league games, I've really enjoyed watching us play. We're playing with flair, we're playing with intelligence, we're creative, we're passing the ball on the floor, the movement's good, we can go direct when we want to up to [Marouane] Fellaini and he'll hold it up, and [Nikica] Jelavic up front has given us a real cutting edge.  

"So, yes, it has been a joy to watch."




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