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 By Mark Rodden

Abou Diaby set for Marseille debut 506 days after last Arsenal appearance

In the past three seasons, Abou Diaby has appeared in just 12 Premier League matches.
Diaby's spell with Arsenal was marred by frequent injury problems.

Abou Diaby is in contention to make his long-awaiting Marseille debut in Thursday's Coupe de France clash with Trelissac.

Diaby has been included in the matchday squad for the first time since joining the French club last summer after his release by Arsenal.

The 29-year-old is part of a group of 19 players who will make the trip to Bordeaux to face the fourth-division side in the round of 16 of the competition.

The former France international was regularly hampered by injuries during nine years at Arsenal and he has had several setbacks since moving to Marseille.

Thursday will mark 506 days since featuring for 66 minutes of Arsenal's 2-1 Capital One Cup defeat to Southampton in September 2014. His only other club appearance since March 2013 came in a 17-minute cameo as a substitute against Norwich in May 2014.  

In November, Marseille manager Michel said he was not certain that Diaby would be able to play this season and last week he indicated that the player would need a month of uninterrupted training before he could return to competitive action.

But on Wednesday the Spanish coach said it was important to offer Diaby some hope for the coming months after he had come through the past 10 training sessions as well as extra work with the medical staff.

"I spoke with him after training," Michel told his prematch news conference. "He knows it will be difficult to be able to play a lot of minutes in the next matches but he feels ready and is available.

"To start a match you really need one month of training. But after two weeks of training with the other players, he can be in the squad.

"The morale aspect is also important for the player. It's also a display of confidence that we're giving him.

"It's a thank you too for his work and that of the doctor."


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