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Gibson closing on Everton return

Darron Gibson could be back this season. Credit: PA

Everton midfielder Darron Gibson is edging closer to a return to first-team training as his rehabilitation from a knee operation continues.

The Republic of Ireland international suffered an injury to a cruciate ligament playing for his country against Kazakhstan in September having made just one appearance for his club this season.

Manager Roberto Martinez has remained optimistic the 26-year-old could return before the end of the campaign and he will start taking tentative steps towards that in the near future.

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Howard out for revenge

Tim Howard insists Everton will use the hurt of their FA Cup exit to inspire their quest to snatch fourth place in the Barclays Premier League from Arsenal.

We are looking forward to playing Arsenal.

We still have a sour taste in our mouth about what happened at Emirates Stadium in the FA Cup, so we will try and put that right at home.

Two weeks ago we were looking to catch Tottenham, now we are asking ourselves 'can we catch Arsenal?'.

We're not favourites to finish fourth because gap is still four points.

It's in our hands because we have a game in hand and we have to play them, but there is still have that four-point lead so it is difficult.

– Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard

Martinez eyes competitive ending

Everton boss Roberto Martinez predicted the race for the fourth Champions League place will go down to the wire following Sunday's 3-1 victory at Fulham.

Being in this position gives us an understanding of what a good season we've had.

With the points we have, we have a realistic chance to fight for that aim (Champions League).

I'm not saying we're going to get that because we admire Arsenal because they get in the Champions League consistently.

They have developed a real understanding (of) what to do in these games, so that makes Sunday a phenomenal challenge.

It will probably go down to the last game of the season.

– Everton manager Roberto Martinez
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