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Aug 9, 2012

Hibbert: Things are looking good

Tony Hibbert has described Everton's prospects for the new season as "promising" after breaking an 11-year goal duck for the club on Wednesday night.

Hibbert marked his testimonial by scoring from a free kick as AEK Athens were beaten 4-1 at Goodison Park. The defender, who made his Everton debut against West Ham in March 2001, had never previously scored in more than 300 appearances.

It was arguably Everton's best pre-season performance as they prepare for their opening Premier League game against Manchester United at Goodison Park on August 20.

Hibbert told the Liverpool Echo: "The manager wanted us to step it up first and foremost. I was telling the lads we needed to kick on and get sharper and we did that. The passing and movement with Bainsey [Leighton Baines] down the left was great. We've all seen it before, and with Steven Naismith coming in too, it looks promising."

Midfielder Naismith, who scored a hat-trick in the match, has come in from Rangers on a free transfer during the summer, while Steven Pienaar made a permanent return from Tottenham for £4.5 million after spending the second half of last season on loan at Goodison Park.

With those additions, manager David Moyes is looking to build on a strong finish to last season, which saw his side go through their final nine Premier League games unbeaten as they finished seventh, above neighbours Liverpool. Moyes' side, who have won three of their five pre-season games, will complete their preparations for the new campaign with a friendly in Malaga on Saturday.

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