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Gibson Steps Up Comeback Bid

Clarets defender set to feature for the Under-23s as Defour and Gudmundsson passed fit

22 November 2018

Ben Gibson will step up his comeback in the Under-23s on Saturday.

Boss Sean Dyche confirmed that next Monday night’s Premier League visit of Newcastle United will come too soon for the former Middlesbrough captain – whose last senior appearance came in the Europa League in August – to return to the Clarets’ first-team squad.

But after resuming full training following a second hernia operation at the start of the month, the summer signing will get the chance to build up his match fitness as an over-age player when Steve Stone’s side goes to Birmingham City in the U23 Professional Development League.

“Ben Gibson will play in the development game on Saturday, which is good,” said Dyche.

“He is feeling good and training fully with us this week and training very hard.

“It’s been very frustrating for him. He’s a fantastic pro and has fitted in well with the lads.

“But he’ll have wanted to come in and earn the right to play and make his mark and that’s been taken away with the two injuries he’s had.

“He’s been very unlucky, but he’s a great pro, he’s worked very, very hard and will continue to do so. And hopefully from now on he will get stronger and stronger.”

Gibson’s defensive colleague James Tarkowski is recovering from similar surgery and will also miss the game against Newcastle.

Ben Gibson played an U23 game in October before a second bout of surgery

But wingman Johann Berg Gudmundsson is fit after recovering from the calf problem that kept him out of Iceland’s two games during the international break.

Gudmundsson was forced to come off during the Clarets’ 0-0 draw at Leicester City almost a fortnight ago, as was midfielder Steven Defour.

But any concerns that Defour may have suffered a further knee problem have been allayed with the play-maker, who returned to top-flight action in October after nine months out, also set to be available to face the Geordies.

“He had a bit of knock, a minor twist on it and we had to make a really quick decision to take him off,” Dyche added.

“We did, and it’s paid us back and it’s paid him back. He’s trained this week, so we’re pleased with that.”

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Nick Pope continues to make impressive progress from the shoulder surgery he underwent in the summer.

The England international is back training with the Clarets’ goalkeeper group, but not yet with the full squad.

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