By Chris Harris

Theo Walcott is back in the Arsenal squad for Saturday’s game against Birmingham - but Laurent Koscielny will miss out.

The centre back has been struggling with a back problem and his absence may open the door for Johan Djourou to return to the side with Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles) also injured.

Arsène Wenger told Arsenal TV Online on Thursday that Walcott could return from the ankle problem he suffered on international duty five weeks ago and those plans were firmed up at the manager’s pre-match press conference.

“We have Theo Walcott who is coming back and we have Nicklas Bendtner back in the squad. The team is not picked yet, but they are back in the squad,” said Wenger.

“It is good because they have been out for quite a while. Since last November, Bendtner has been in and out, and he was never really himself. Walcott has been out now for five weeks so it is good to have them back.”

Then came the bad news.

“We have lost Laurent Koscielny who is injured with his back. Thomas Vermaelen is still out, he is ten days away,” reported Wenger.

The Frenchman also confirmed that Cesc Fabregas would miss the visit of Birmingham but the captain could return to face Shakhtar Donetsk at Emirates Stadium three days later.

“He has a chance for Tuesday,” said Wenger. “I thought he would play tomorrow. There is nothing specially wrong, he is just a bit short for tomorrow.”

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15 Oct 2010