By Rob Kelly
Abou Diaby says he has worked tirelessly over the past year to get back to full fitness - and now only wants to look to the future.
The France international has been bedevilled by injuries and only lasted 28 minutes of his comeback against Liverpool at the start of the month before succumbing to a hamstring problem.
However, the midfielder scored for the reserves in a 60-minute workout against the same opponents on Tuesday and feels he is approaching peak condition again.
“I am very happy to be back - I have done a lot of work with the medical staff to get back in the frame,” he told Arsenal.com.
“I feel good and I hope that things will stay like this for me. It has been very frustrating to get all of these injuries, because I don't play, I don't train and I am in the gym on my own and getting treatment.
“I have had a lot of injuries and it is tough to take because you want to show what you have got on the pitch. I just want to play football. Now everything is OK again, so I am just looking forward.”
Diaby accepts he faces a major challenge to break into a strong Arsenal midfield, but he is confident he can do so.
“We have always had a lot of good midfielders at the Club and they are doing a great job,” he said. “That is great for them personally, and great for the team.
“I still have to play some games and do some more work to get back, but I feel that I am very close to full fitness now.
“Of course, I feel I need to make up for lost time now that I am back. I just need to work hard.”
Diaby has been impressed with the spirit the team has shown to win five games in succession, and he believes it points to a bright future.
“I am definitely confident we can finish the season strongly,” he said. “If we keep playing in the way that we are at the moment, we can finish above Tottenham.
“In the last few games we have shown character and played good football as well, so we need to keep going in this way and the good results will come.”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 21 Mar 2012