Per Mertesacker is unlikely to play for Arsenal again this season, but Arsene Wenger is pleased with the progress being made by Jack Wilshere.

The Gunners boss is looking to take advantage of a free weekend schedule, with the club not in action until next Wednesday's Premier League trip to Goodison Park to face Everton, and is anticipating the return of a number of players.

Arsenal's injury problems have eased in recent weeks, but Wenger still has some key players missing from a first-team that has rediscovered a rich vein of form in the past month or so.

Mertesacker though will not be rushed back into action, as the 27-year-old German international continues his rehabilitation from ankle ligament surgery last month.

"I believe Per will be out for the rest of the season," Wenger told Arsenal's official website. "Basically there are only six weeks to go so I don't think he'll be sharp enough to come back and play. He would need to train and get back to full fitness."

However, more positive news for Arsenal fans is the impending return of Wilshere, who has been sidelined for the entire season so far with an ankle problem, but could return for the crucial run-in.

"Jack's scan was positive," he continued. "There is no problem, it is normal evolution and he is continuing his progression. It's too early to fix a date, though, we go day by day with him.

"Andre [Santos] played 60 minutes [for the reserves on Wednesday] with no problem. Overall we are getting our players back so that is positive.

"Abou [Diaby] might play in the reserves next week at Liverpool. That game is on Tuesday night, and Francis [Coquelin] is two more weeks away from fitness."

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Per Mertesacker
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