Arsenal have received a welcome boost with the news that defenders Gael Clichy and Philippe Senderos both successfully completed comebacks from injury in a reserve clash on Tuesday night.
The pair have not featured for The Gunners so far this season but will now aim to regain match fitness and stake a claim for a starting role in the coming weeks under Arsene Wenger.
French full-back Clichy is perceived as a probable contender to take over Ashley Cole's vacated left back slot on a full time basis, but has made just two first team appearances in 2006 due to a stress fracture of his foot.
However his lengthy recovery is now in its final stages after he appeared for the first half of Arsenal reserves' 2-1 win over West Ham at Upton Park on Tuesday night.
Clichy's eventual return is expected to shift William Gallas into the centre of defence to partner Kolo Toure, but Senderos will also hope to be in contention after appearing for the full 90 minutes against The Hammers.
The Swiss international has been out of action ever since suffering shoulder ligament damage at the World Cup, but came through the second string clash unscathed.
The return of the promising pair has been hailed as 'fantastic news' by Wenger, who has seen his defensive options stretched to breaking point at times over the past year.
Speaking before the reserve game, Wenger outlined his plan to give the duo more reserve team football before re-introducing them to the first XI.
"It is fantastic news," Wenger told the club's official website.
"I hope we can organise another reserve team game next week and they could play again."