Emery confirms full-back pairing to take next step in comebacks
Kieran Tierney will make his long-awaited Arsenal debut on Friday and Hector Bellerin should also feature against Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Under-23 side.
Gunners boss Unai Emery has confirmed the Scottish left-back, signed for £25million from Celtic over the summer, is set to play in the match at AFC Telford United’s New Bucks Head ground.
Tierney took part in training with the Arsenal first-team squad for the first time only last Thursday after recovering from a double hernia operation he underwent in May.
And Arsenal fans will be keen to see how the 22-year-old gets on against Wolves and if he can put himself in contention for next week’s Carabao Cup third-round clash with Nottingham Forest at Emirates Stadium.
Tierney has not played any competitive football since Celtic’s 3-0 Scottish Premiership win at Aberdeen on May 3 – in which he was substituted in the 56th minute.
He admitted the pain had become too unbearable to carry on without surgery and took the decision to have the operation, which kept him out of Scotland’s summer internationals and Celtic’s Champions League qualifiers in July.
Bellerin has also been battling back to fitness since suffering a ruptured cruciate knee ligament in a Premier League match against Chelsea last January.
The 24-year-old was expected to be sidelined for at least six months, but it has taken a little longer for the Spaniard to be ready for a reserve team run-out.
Both players could start, but Arsenal may choose to limit their action to less than 90 minutes in order to ensure there are no setbacks from this outing.
Emery will be delighted if the duo come through their comeback game unscathed as he eyes the trip to Manchester United at the end of the month as a possible Premier League return target for them.
Bukayo Saka, who made an impressive Europa League debut for the club on Thursday, won’t feature for the second string on Friday and will likewise be looking for involvement against Forest next week.