By Richard Clarke

Manuel Almunia is likely to return for the trip to Newcastle on Saturday evening.

The Arsenal keeper damaged his ankle in the 4-0 win over Blackburn last weekend and was unavailable for the FA Cup Quarter-Final victory over Hull in midweek. However, after a positive training session on Thursday, he is likely to be given the all-clear from the medical staff.

Cesc Fabregas and Eduardo also took part in that session. For the Spaniard it represented his first full contact training since he damaged knee ligaments against Liverpool on December 21. However neither will be on the bus to St James’ Park.

“Almunia could be back,” Wenger told Arsenal TV Online. “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.”

Arsenal TV Online subscribers can see the full video interview with Arsène Wenger on Friday. In it, the manager talks about:

  • The fall-out from the FA Cup tie with Hull
  • The allegations against Cesc Fabregas
  • His considered thoughts on the winning goal
  • Accusations of ‘tapping up’ over Rafael and Fabio
  • Newcastle’s troubled season
  • The chances of them going down
  • His letter of support to Joe Kinnear
  • The Champions League draw
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19 Mar 2009