By Matt Fortune

Bacary Sagna expects to be fully fit and raring to go when the season gets underway in less than four weeks time.

The Frenchman completed 45 minutes in the Gunners’ pre-season friendly win at Barnet on Saturday, his first appearance since an ankle injury against Chelsea bought his superb debut campaign to a shuddering halt in March.

Despite the weekend run-out, Sagna remains cautious but two weeks of pre-season training has already bought about a sharp rise in fitness. He expects that trend to continue.

“I still feel my ankle a little bit, but I can run and play football normally and I am confident it will improve every day,” Sagna told “It was good to play on Saturday and it is a nice feeling to be back in front of the fans. I haven’t played since March so I was pleased to be with my team-mates as well.

“I feel better now and I hope that I can feel better and better with every new game.

“The last couple of weeks have been hard because it is the first time since my injury that I have been in training. I needed to find my performance level again and be prepared to give more than I have before. I do think, though, that I will be fit for the start of the season.”

So fitness isn’t a worry, but is he worried he may suffer a bout of the infamous ‘second-season syndrome’?

“No not at all," he replied. "I am not even thinking about that as a possibility. I only want to focus on my own game, perform for Arsenal and see what the season brings. Hopefully it will be some cups.”

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21 Jul 2008