Birmingham City Vs Arsenal, Sat 27 Mar 2010

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Birmingham boss Alex McLeish has no new injury worries ahead of the home Barclays Premier League clash with Arsenal.

McLeish will be able to select again from the players on duty for Wednesday's 2-1 defeat against Blackburn at Ewood Park.

Garry O'Connor (groin) and Lee Carsley (ankle) remain long-term casualties while David Murphy continues to recover from a hamstring setback.

Murphy had been stepping up his comeback from a broken knee-cap but has missed City's last two reserve games to check his progress.

McLeish said: "We are fine. The players are all present and correct again. We have had an amazing run without injuries. We have had a couple of longer term ones, which you can't legislate for, but the medical staff and fitness coaches have done a great job.

"They have all combined to try and prevent injuries as well as treating injuries and we are really pleased that department is working well."


Arsenal will be without suspended defender Thomas Vermaelen.

Veteran Mikael Silvestre is expected to fill in alongside Sol Campbell, while striker Nicklas Bendtner (ankle) should be fit.

Centre-back William Gallas (calf) has returned to training and Holland forward Robin van Persie is stepping up his recovery from several months out with ankle ligament damage.

Aaron Ramsey (broken leg), Kieran Gibbs (foot) and Johan Djourou (knee) remain sidelined.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists his players will not be distracted by the forthcoming glamour Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona when they bid to keep their title bid alive with victory at Birmingham.

Before the small matter of contemplating how to get the better of Lionel Messi and former captain Thierry Henry in Europe, Wenger's young squad must come through another test of their championship credentials at St Andrew's.

A run of six successive league victories has hauled Arsenal right back into contention, although they now sit back down in third following Chelsea's resounding 5-0 win at bottom club Portsmouth.

With only two points separating the top three sides, but Arsenal with an inferior goal difference, Wenger knows there can be no room for error or failing to focus on the job at hand.

"I believe my players are very intelligent and if we were distracted it would mean we were not - the best way to prepare for Barcelona is to win the game before," said Wenger.

"We have fought like mad until now to be in the position we are in. It is 10 months of preparation, fight and work to be where we are in the championship so we want to take advantage of that and win the Birmingham game."

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