Gibson out to impress Martinez on return
DARRON GIBSON will get a chance to impress Roberto Martinez tonight as the Ireland international takes to the field for the first time in nine months.
The Derry native has been sidelined since he suffered a knee injury while on duty for Ireland in the World Cup qualifier at home to Kazakhstan last year but Martinez hopes to use Gibson in a friendly against Tranmere Rovers tonight.
"Darron Gibson is a newly fresh and rejuvenated player," said Martinez as Gibson appears to be ahead of other long-term injury victims Arouna Kone and Bryan Oviedo in terms of a return to action.
"I am really pleased with their progress and it shows the desire they have that they want to be back. Sometimes we have had to push them back and stop them wanting more and more.
"Arouna and Bryan are doing well and they are three important players. They can have a big role on the pitch and help the team.
"They are three players we have missed for a very long time and they are now full of energy."
Asked if Gibson could feature against Tranmere, Martinez said: "Without doubt. For the other two it would be an unnecessary risk at this stage. Arouna and Bryan are still working on their programmes and we don't want to see them challenging for balls and putting themselves in risky situations. Darron is fully fit and training in a very impressive way."
Because of his injury, Gibson has not yet had a chance to work with new Ireland boss Martin O'Neill but he hopes to work his way back into the squad in time for the September qualifier away to Georgia.