By Chris Harris

Those who pitched up at Meadow Park last Friday were lucky enough to witness one of the most welcome sights of Arsenal's pre-season - the low-key return to action of Ryan Garry.

Since making an impressive first-team debut in May 2003, the talented defender has been blighted by a long-term shin injury. He was raring to go this time last year after a lengthy rehabilitation, but another setback restricted Garry to just two appearances in 2005/06.

Hopefully it will be a different story this season. Garry was given a vigorous 90-minute workout as an Arsenal XI beat Boreham Wood and, like everyone else, Reserve team manager Neil Banfield is keeping his fingers crossed that the 22-year-old can finally fulfil his obvious potential.

"Ryan has been right through the mill and he's shown good resilience and a fantastic attitude," Banfield told "We hope now that he's through it all and he can get over the next stage of his recovery which is the mental stage of playing.

"I think he worries every time he plays that the injury might flare up again but hopefully he'll be fine.
"Medically he's fine. As far as the medical team and doctors have said, he's got the green light to play. He came back at the start of last season but had a recurrence of his shin injury and had to go through a slow process of elimination to find out exactly what it was. They seem to have it under control now.

"Fingers crossed he'll be OK now because he's a smashing lad and has worked so hard, hopefully he'll have a good run now.

"The lads know he's been through so much that they all pull for him. They all wish him the best and have all helped him a long. The Club is like a family in that respect, they don't want someone to have to stop playing through an injury."

7/1 - Arsenal to win the 2006/07 Premiership title

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Chris Harris 10 Aug 2006