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Gibson ruled out for a month

Everton midfielder Darron Gibson will be out for up to a month after suffering a thigh strain.

Gibson, 25, was forced off at half-time during the 2-1 win over Wigan on Boxing Day. It was only his sixth game back after almost three months out with a thigh injury sustained during a 2-0 defeat at West Brom on September 1 and manager David Moyes has acknowledged that the midfielder's absence is going to leave him with a problem.

"We think he's going to be out for a month with a thigh strain," Moyes said. "We'll lose him for about a month. "It's a test to try to find teams we can win with, without our best players. But when you lose your best players, you have to find solutions to try to win the games."

Moyes will be boosted by the return of midfielder Marouane Fellaini from a three-match ban when his side travel to Newcastle in the Premier League on Wednesday.

Fellaini was handed the ban retrospectively after television footage showed him headbutting Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross - an incident missed by referee Mark Halsey - during a 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium on December 15.

The Everton squad has been stretched recently by the absences of Kevin Mirallas, Tony Hibbert and Seamus Coleman because of injury, while captain Phil Neville was rested for Sunday's 2-1 defeat at home to Chelsea, having played two games in five days after coming back from knee surgery.

Moyes was cautious on the chances of any of his injured players making a comeback at Newcastle.

He said: "We're looking hopeful that we might, but the games are coming that fast that it doesn't give you a great deal of time. But maybe the two or three days between this game might give us an opportunity."

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