By Randy Osae

Defensive boost for Gunners

After a few days of nursing an ankle injury at the hands of Diouf’s sickening tackle on Saturday, Manuel Almunia is likely to return in Arsenal’s goal on Saturday.

But he is the only injury concern resolved for the trip to St James’ Park. Fabregas and Eduardo were able to take part in the team’s training session on Thursday, but in his interview with Arsenal TV online, Arsene Wenger insisted the weekend comes too soon for the duo.

The manager though, has given Mikael Silvestre the nod for selection on Saturday.

The French defender had been missing since he limped off 30 minutes into the FA Cup 3rd-round tie with Plymouth but did return for a place on the bench in Tuesday’s quarter-final.

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“Almunia could be back,” Wenger said. “He had a good training session today so it looks like he will be available.

“Fabregas and Eduardo have come back into full training today but I think they will be short for Saturday.

“It is the first time back for Cesc. He is physically fit but he needs a few training sessions. So it will be after the international break for him.

“Silvestre is fit and available but Adebayor is not ready yet.”