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Wenger has Euro vision for Campbell

SOL Campbell's prospects of making an impact on his return to Arsenal have improved after it emerged that Arsene Wenger is planning to add the former England defender to his Champions League squad.

Under Uefa rules, clubs can include three new players in their squad after the group stage and Campbell will be added to Arsenal's A List, which must include six locally developed players.

Campbell has not played in the Champions League since scoring Arsenal's goal in their 2-1 defeat by Barcelona in the 2006 final on his last senior appearance for the club, but will be eligible to play when Wenger's side face Porto in their first knockout-stage tie next month.

The manager may want to include the 35-year-old in his match-day squad for his experience in case of injury to his first-choice central defensive pairing of William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen.

Campbell has been pencilled in to make his first senior appearance of his second spell at Arsenal in Sunday's FA Cup fourth-round tie away to Stoke City, but he must first prove his fitness on the training ground after managing only 45 minutes for the reserves against West Ham United last week.

Arsenal do not have a reserve fixture this week and have been unable to arrange a practice match for the central defender, who is champing at the bit in training and desperate to return to competitive action, having played only once for Notts County this season.

Wenger received some good news yesterday when Theo Walcott and Denilson were passed fit for tomorrow's Premier League match at home to Bolton Wanderers. Walcott is likely to have to settle for a place on the bench after Tomas Rosicky impressed in the 2-0 win over Bolton at the Reebok Stadium on Sunday, but Denilson will replace Craig Eastmond in central midfield and Gael Clichy could make his first start since October in place of Armand Traore at left-back.

Wenger also confirmed that Nicklas Bendtner should have recovered from his groin problems to face Aston Villa on January 27, a much-needed boost that is likely to mean that the manager will not need to sign a new striker this month.

"Denilson and Walcott are available for Wednesday," Wenger said. "It is a boost because they were out for a while and it gives us some fresh players. Walcott has been unlucky with niggling injuries and so it is good to have him back. Bendtner will be available for the Villa game." (© The Times, London)

Irish Independent