Wenger praises Arsenal's backroom staff over small injury list

The 63-year-old goes into the game against Newcastle with just one long-term injury - Lukasz Fabianski - and expects Abou Diaby and Andre Santos back in training next week

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has praised his backroom staff for their hard work as he continues the festive period with an almost fully fit squad.

The Frenchman's side face Newcastle this weekend and will have Olivier Giroud and Tomas Rosicky back fit after they were both missed out at Wigan, with just Andre Santos and long-term absentees Abou Diaby, Lukasz Fabianski and Ignasi Miquel still sidelined.

The game against Alan Pardew’s side comes too soon for Diaby and Santos as they return from a thigh and abdominal injury respectively, but Wenger revealed that the pair are close to a return to first-team action.

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Wenger told the club's official website: "We should not have any new injuries from our last game. Giroud and Rosicky should be available again. They were sick at Wigan.

"They should be coming back into training with the squad next week."

Wenger is delighted with the clean bill of health his squad, with Fabianski the only player yet to be handed a return date.

He added: "It is unusual, especially at this period of the season. It is down to the continuing good work we are doing behind the scenes at the club.

"We hope that it continues because it is important to go into January with a full squad and we will be losing Gervinho to the Africa Cup of Nations."