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Tuesday, 5 November, 2002, 11:19 GMT
Van Bronckhorst back for Gunners
Giovanni van Bronckhorst
Van Bronckhorst will return against Sunderland
Arsenal midfielder Giovanni van Bronckhorst is set to make his first appearance for more than eight months in Wednesday's Worthington Cup tie against Sunderland.

Van Bronckhorst tore a cruciate knee ligament against Fulham on 23 February that kept him out of the season run-in.

But Gunners boss Arsene Wenger confirmed the Dutch international would play along with the fit-again Robert Pires in a side short of most first-team regulars.

"It will be a different team midweek," Wenger told the club's website. "Robert Pires will play and so will Giovanni van Bronckhorst."

The return of the 27-year-old Van Bronckhorst will be a huge boost to Wenger, with fellow midfielder Patrick Vieira recently complaining of fatigue.

Pires also underwent a cruciate operation after suffering a knee injury in May which kept him out of the World Cup.

The Frenchman has featured in Arsenal's last three games but will face the Black Cats as he strives for full fitness.

"I will rest a few players because they need a breather," added Wenger.

"It is important to have everybody fit. We are waiting for Martin Keown and Ray Parlour too.

"We are in a period now where we will be going into the second phase of the Champions League.

"You can see after three or four games some of the players need a rest to refresh themselves."

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27 Feb 02 | Arsenal
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