Wenger down to bare bones
Gunners boss hoping to have Toure back for Rovers clash
By Chris Burton. Last Updated: 09/02/08 10:40am
Toure: Still in Africa
Arsene Wenger is hoping to have Kolo Toure back from the Africa Cup of Nations in time for Monday's game with Blackburn.
The Ivory Coast international is due to represent his country in the third/fourth play-off game on Saturday but, with Arsenal currently short of numbers at the back, Wenger is hoping to persuade him to then make a quick dash back to England.
With Johan Djourou struggling with a groin injury and Philippe Senderos aggravating a knee problem while playing for Switzerland against England in midweek, Wenger admits that he is running out of options.
"I have not called Kolo yet, but I will try to see if he can take a flight from Accra to London, as Ivory Coast play on Saturday afternoon," he said.
"Otherwise it will be Gilberto, or Justin Hoyte at centre-half. Overall we are very, very short and it is down to the bare bones."
Senderos will be given as much time as possible though to prove his fitness in time for the Rovers clash and could yet line up against Mark Hughes' side.
"Philippe Senderos came off injured in midweek with a medial knee ligament and is a major doubt," Wenger added.
"He has played with it before and we will see on Monday. I don't rule him out completely and he is positive about it.
"However, our medical team are a bit less. He wants to test it out over the weekend."
Another defensive player who looks likely to miss Monday's game is Abou Diaby, who despite reporting for international duty with France this week is actually carrying a calf injury.
"Diaby, in fairness, picked his injury up last week at Man City," Wenger said.
"We sent him on international duty with information explaining that he was injured and France did not play him."