By Giuseppe Muro

Arsène Wenger says Thomas Vermaelen will make his comeback in the Reserves before returning to the first team.

The Belgian central defender has not played since early September when he picked up an Achilles injury on international duty but is now set to return within a month.

Though Vermaelen is nearing the end of his rehabilitation Wenger is planning a few outings for the second string before considering him for selection.

A similar plan of action was used with long-term absentees Aaron Ramsey and Eduardo and proved hugely beneficial on both fronts, with the latter scoring a brace on his return to the first team against Cardiff.

“When he [Vermaelen] is fit certainly we'll play him in the Reserve team,” said Wenger. “[But] not before two or three weeks.

“You never know until he is completely fit to play again but we are hopeful [he is progressing well].

“He feels he is over the problem but he played his last game in September and we are in February so it will take some time to come back to match fitness.”

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11 Feb 2011