Wenger reveals faith in Fabianski

Wenger reveals faith in Fabianski

Published Feb. 17, 2010 9:22 a.m. ET

Arsene Wenger has backed Lukasz Fabianski to rise to the occasion in Arsenal's Champions League tie against Porto on Wednesday night.

With regular number one Manuel Almunia set for a spell on the sidelines because of a finger injury, Fabianski, 24, will get another opportunity to stake his claim.

The young Pole, out earlier in the season after knee surgery, has seen Italian Vito Mannone emerge as a genuine challenger for the long-term goalkeeper's jersey at the Emirates Stadium.

Fabianski may have been somewhat exposed on his last outing during the FA Cup defeat at Stoke, but Wenger has complete faith in his stopper.

"I believe that Fabianski is top, top level and has massive potential," said the Frenchman.

"It is not easy for a keeper to come in and out.

"What he misses at the moment is the number of games but I have no doubt about his potential."

Despite heading to Portugal with some five first-team regulars missing, Wenger maintains there can be no excuses should Arsenal fail to deliver the result needed at Estadio do Dragao.

Russian playmaker Andrey Arshavin, centre-half William Gallas, defensive midfielder Alex Song and Croatia striker Eduardo were also not among the 18-man travelling party, leaving the Gunners somewhat light as they prepare for the first leg of their last-16 clash.

Wenger, though, insists being low on numbers should not be an issue for the Premier League side, who did not have a game at the weekend.

"It is difficult to say how long they will be out," he said. "But it is not a serious concern.

"The concern is that the players who are here perform at their best.

"It is part of the season that you do not always have all the players available to select the team but I am not bothered by that."

With Gallas unavailable because of a calf problem, veteran former skipper Sol Campbell could be in line for his first European appearance with the Gunners since leading them in the 2006 Champions League final against Barcelona.

The 35-year-old has been used only twice since securing a shock return to the club he captained to so much success along with the likes of Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira.

Wenger believes former England international Campbell still has plenty left to offer.

"Sol's experience can be important," said the Arsenal manager.

"For a central defender, it is a bit special (to still be playing at 35) but, as long as you are hungry to work hard to keep yourself fit and you are not bothered by injuries, then a central defender can play three or four years longer than a striker."