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 By Kevin Palmer

Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby close on Arsenal injury returns

Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby are all set to step up the recovery from their injuries when they take part in an Arsenal under-21 game at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.

Wilshere, who has not played a first-team game since late November, is closing in on a comeback after having caps removed from the top of pins in his ankle, with his return to action taking a little longer than boss Arsene Wenger initially suggested.

Arsenal skipper Arteta has not made a first-team appearance since the 2-0 Champions League defeat against Borussia Dortmund in November, having undergone surgery in mid-January on an ankle problem.

Diaby's re-emergence is also long-awaited, with the French midfielder having played just 16 minutes of Premier League football in the last two seasons following a number of fitness setbacks.

The trio played in an under-21 game last week and came through without any negative reaction to their injury problems.

Arteta and Diaby are looking to make an impression in the final few weeks of this season, with the latter's contract due to expire in the summer.

Wenger has hinted that Diaby, who signed for the club from Auxerre in 2006, may yet be offered a new deal by Arsenal.

"I had a chat with him and told him how I can envisage the future," Wenger said of Diaby. "He has to make a decision. Of course he understands completely that he has to perform and to show that he can be present in a consistent way.

"I will see where we go from there. I wouldn't like to go into details. We have to meet again to see where we go from what I told him. It has to be linked a little bit with his presence clearly."


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