• Premier League

Jenkinson ready for derby duty

ESPNsoccernet staff
February 22, 2012
Carl Jenkinson has played 11 times for Arsenal this season © PA Photos

Arsenal's defensive ranks are set to get a boost with the return of Carl Jenkinson; the full-back last played for the Gunners on November 5 and suffered a stress fracture in his back.

Jenkinson, 20, has made 11 appearances since signing from Charlton last summer and made a successful 45-minute comeback in Arsenal's reserve win over Norwich. Reserve team coach Neil Banfield said Jenkinson's return was ''nice to see''.

While the versatile defender is not assured of a place in Arsene Wenger's starting XI, his availability would be welcomed given that the under-fire Gunners boss has a number of injury concerns at the back.

Per Mertesacker is out with a long-term ankle injury, Laurent Koscielny missed last weekend's defeat at Sunderland, while Sebastien Squillaci and Francis Coquelin both hobbled off at the Stadium of Light and will miss Sunday's game against Tottenham. Indeed, the club only has two other fit centre-halves: Thomas Vermaelen and Johan Djourou.

Wenger, who is under pressure after seeing his team crash out of the FA Cup and almost certainly exit the Champions League after a 4-0 first leg hammering at AC Milan, is hoping to have striker Marouane Chamakh available after he returned from the African Nations Cup this week.

The striker suffered a toe injury while at the tournament, but is expected to be fit after playing a part for the reserves. ''Marouane had a bad toe coming into this one. To be fair to him he wanted to give it a go but he could only last for half an hour and he had to come off,'' Banfield told Arsenal's website. ''Marouane will be alright, it is just a bad toe I think at the moment.''

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