By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Danny Welbeck has returned to full training but his Arsenal comeback is on hold while he builds up his fitness.
Arsene Wenger revealed on Thursday that Welbeck will not play for the club’s Under-21s as an over-age player on Saturday against Stoke, as had originally been planned.
The England international, who has been sidelined for nine months with a knee injury, will now have to wait until the development side’s match against Brighton a week on Friday for his comeback.
Welbeck has not played this season and his last appearance came in the Gunners’ goal-less draw against Chelsea last April.
As revealed by Football Insider on Tuesday, he has returned to full training with the first-team squad but needs more sessions to get fully fit.
Speaking to the Arsenal website on Thursday afternoon, Wenger said: “Danny Welbeck is not completely ready but he is not far. He needs a game or two because he’s been out since last April.
“The Stoke [under-21] game is too soon because he only had one session with the team, and that is too short.”
Welbeck’s imminent return will provide Wenger with more forward options after he was forced to rely solely upon Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott for more than half of the season.
In other Arsenal injury news, Francis Coquelin and Tomas Rosicky are in line to make their comebacks against Burnley on Saturday.
The Premier League giants are preparing to welcome the two internationals back into the first-team fold for the FA Cup fourth-round fixture at Emirates Stadium.