Thomas Vermaelen is set to make his long-awaited return from injury in Arsenal's reserve match against Manchester United on Thursday.
Vermaelen has been given the green light to play in the match at Altrincham after almost eight months out with an Achilles injury that defied treatment.
The 25-year-old was initially expected to be sidelined for a matter of days but he endured several aborted comeback attempts and was eventually forced to undergo minor surgery in January in a bid to cure the problem.
Should the Belgium defender come through Thursday's match unscathed, manager Arsene Wenger may decide to hand him a place in the first team before the end of the season. Vermaelen has been badly missed by Arsenal this term, especially during the last two months, which has seen their quadruple quest disintegrate.