Everton midfielder Darron Gibson is trying to avoid surgery on a troublesome thigh problem even though he could break down at any time. He returned to the first team at the end of January, though Toffees boss David Moyes has since revealed the Republic of Ireland international has been playing through the pain barrier.

The 25-year-old is also keen to avoid surgery, which would require another lengthy lay-off, and says he is happy to keep playing with the condition.

"Fingers crossed it won't need an operation," he said. "I'm just managing it at the moment.

"I'm happy enough. I'm comfortable playing."