Pre-Match Report

Reserves: Arsenal v Wolves - Preview

By Nick Teale

By the end of the season Arsenal could have a quartet of League titles.
Not only are the men's and women's sides in the midst of their Premier League races, the Reserves and Under-18s are competing for their respective crowns too.
The Reserve League challenge is hotting up and Neil Banfield's second-string play the first of four games in as many weeks when they take on Wolverhampton Wanderers at Underhill tonight.
The Reserves' next three fixtures are all at home but those matches are followed by a trip to South League leaders Aston Villa. As the title race heads towards its climax, Banfield is keen for his side to show that Arsenal breed winners.
"Sometimes we don't have a game for a little while but it is nice to have a game every week now towards the end of the season," he told
"The lads and ourselves within the coaching department are winners. We want to win every single game, every single competition and every single thing we take part in.
"Although we say it is about the development, we are believers in winners. Because being a winner is part of becoming a top player.
"They know the situation. They want to win on Wednesday and they want to win the Reserve League. But that is not our main objective.
"Our main objective is to give young players the opportunity to play in front of Arsène Wenger and to try and get themselves into his reckoning, into his squad and get themselves contracts at the Club.
"If they are all doing well that way then winning should come along with it because that is what it is all about, so it works closely together. But without a doubt we want to win the League.
"There's a lot there for them at the moment because the first team are doing so well.
"If a few of the first-team players pick up injuries at the moment the manager might just be persuaded by their performances to bring them into the squad or include them in some way."
Banfield himself has been convinced by Chuks Aneke's displays in the Under-18s this term. The Newham-born midfielder bagged his sixth goal of the season against MK Dons on Saturday and is set to make his second start for the Reserves tonight.
"Chuks will get a run," confirmed Banfield. "He'll play on the right of the front three. He has done well for Steve [Bould, the Under-18s manager]. He is a young lad, he's only 16 and we think it is time to start dipping his toes into the Reserve team."
Craig Eastmond could be handed the captain's armband and Luke Freeman is set to continue in attack after scoring against Chelsea last time out. He is likely to be joined by Sanchez Watt who recently returned from a month-long loan spell with Southend United.
That would mean Rhys Murphy makes his return to action from the bench. The striker joined Brentford on loan earlier in the season but hasn't played a competitive game this calendar year.
The 19-year-old scored during the Dubai Sevens Tournament on Friday and was a second-half substitute in the friendly defeat to Colorado Rapids last week.

Murphy is likely to be among the substitutes against Wolves tonight and manager Banfield hopes that will elicit a positive response from the striker.
"You have to fight to get your place back," he said. "The way to do that is to train well and work hard, then when you get the opportunity be better than the player in front of you.
"There are one or two who have done really well in training and they are pushing Rhys if not in front of him because of his lack of match time."
A draw with Wolves in October spelt the end of Arsenal's five-match winning start to the Reserve League season and as always, Banfield isn't expecting an easy ride this time.
"I expect the same as every game you play against Premier League sides," he said. "They will be well-organised with good players and I expect a competitive game and a good football game."

Welsh international midfielder Dave Edwards is set to make his comeback from injury for the visitors tonight in what is otherwise a young side. He had featured in 15 Premier League games for Wolves before undergoing an operation on an ankle injury sustained during their 1-0 win over Tottenham in December. will be bringing you the live text commentary from Underhill and bitesize highlights will be available to TV Online subscribers from Thursday morning (UK time) with extended highlights following later in the day.

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