By Richard Clarke
Sol Campbell and Jose Antonio Reyes will NOT now be returning to the Arsenal squad for the trip to Portsmouth on Saturday. In addition, Freddie Ljungberg has suffered a set-back and is not risked at Fratton Park.
Speaking exclusively to Arsenal TV Online on Thursday, Arsène Wenger had suggested the Spanish striker (hamstring) and England centre back (ankle) could be involved in the Saturday evening game. At this press conference 24 hours, it turned out that neither would make it.
"Reyes is out," said the manager. "So is Ljungberg, Cole, Cygan, Clichy, Lauren and Campbell.
"Sol is not injured but he is not in the squad. He's 90 per cent there physically, and mentally 100 per cent.
"We have had big games recently. I feel at the moment he is ready to come back at any moment but the defence is doing well. He will get the opportunity soon.
"His attitude is spot on. I tell you frankly, he is more focused, motivated and sharp. He will come back quickly and get an opportunity quickly.
"He will work on Saturday. But, for me, he's nearly there."
While Campbell is voluntarily omitted, the opposite is true of Ljungberg (calf).
"He is not available," said the manager . "He had a set-back in the middle of the week. He has a chance to be in the squad for Tuesday [against Juventus].
"He is training today, so it depends on his response."
Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 24 Mar 2006