Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere is back in full training and closing in on a return to first-team action, with a place in the Gunners squad this weekend's FA Cup clash with Middlesbrough a realistic proposition.
Wilshere has been out of action since November 22nd after injuring his ankle under a challenge from Manchester United defender Paddy McNair, the latest in a long line of setbacks for one of English football's most promising players.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is likely to be cautious with Wilshere as he gets tantalisingly close to a welcome comeback, but with Aaron Ramsey taking his place on the treatment table there's every chance he could in their 18-man squad for Sunday's fifth-round tie.
Welcome boost after Ramsey blow
Arsenal fans are no strangers to injury setbacks and had another pair of disappointments to cope with on that front against Leicester City last night, with Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez both forced off in the second half of a nervy 2-1 win at the Emirates.
Ramsey in particular has given Wenger huge cause for concern, pulling up with what looked like his third serious hamstring problem of the season just nine minutes after coming on as a substitute.
No need to rush Wilshere
Wenger is blessed with a number of options in central midfield that have very similar attributes to Wilshere, with Tomas Rosicky and Santi Cazorla perfectly capable of lining up alongside the more defensive-minded Francis Coquelin against Middlesbrough if given the opportunity.
As a result it's hard to imagine Wenger will take any chances with a player that has a very disappointing history when it comes to being fit for duty over the last three season, so a short cameo role from the bench late on looks far more likely.
Wilshere won't see it that way and will be desperate to feature if he comes through a more rigorous week of training unscathed, but with a Champions League tie against Monaco looming large the Gunners will likely play a long game with a player capable of making a massive impact at anything approaching his very best.
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