Everton latest: Gibson lined up for return, striker deal doubtful

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Everton manager Roberto Martinez is now ramping up the club's preparation for the new season, and his Toffees side take on Merseyside neighbours Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park on Tuesday night. Midfield Darron Gibson is still returning from injury, but Martinez says he expects the former Manchester United man to feature as he steps up his comeback, but doesn't think left back Bryan Oviedo and striker Arouna Kone to play.

"Without doubt," said Martinez when asked whether Gibson could play. "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."

Meanwhile, young goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek is taking part in his first preseason at Finch Farm after arriving from Sparta Prague in January. The 18-year-old is looking to push Joel Robles and Tim Howard in the pecking order, and believes that he is improving all the time.

"It's been a great time for me since January because football here is a higher level than at home," said Stanek. "Getting the chance to train with the first team and Inaki Bergara and the other goalkeeper coaches is unbelievable. I'm getting new experiences every day here. I feel like I have improved; I'm stronger, more powerful."

In the transfer market, Everton are still looking for a new striker after Romelu Lukaku returned to Chelsea at the end of his loan spell. Sevilla's Colombian forward Carlos Bacca was linked with a move last week, but the La Liga side have reportedly denied that any talks have been held between the two clubs - which may leave Martinez to look for new targets.

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