By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger insists that Arsenal will not hold back at Birmingham – and that applies to his team selection too.

The spectre of a glamorous Champions League Quarter-Final with Barcelona looms large with the first leg taking place just three days after Saturday’s trip to St. Andrew’s. And the close proximity of those two fixtures has prompted speculation that Wenger may rest Sol Campbell so he is fresh to face the European champions on Wednesday in the continued absence of William Gallas.

It seems a valid proposal – Wenger himself has said that Campbell may struggle to play two games in quick succession at this stage in his career. However, the manager will not let the Barcelona tie cloud his mind when he picks his team to face Birmingham – and that means Campbell will play.

“I will pick him for the next game because for me the next game is an important one,” declared Wenger at his pre-match press conference.

“I don’t consider Barcelona for the next game. At the back we need to be solid to win this game [at Birmingham]. We fight the whole season to be in there and this is a priority.

“I believe my players are very intelligent and if we were distracted it would mean we were not [intelligent]. The best way to prepare for Barcelona is to win the game before.

“We have fought like mad until now to be in the position we are in. It’s ten months preparation, fight and work to be where we are in the championship so we want to take advantage of that and win the Birmingham game.”

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25 Mar 2010