Football: Houston makes peace with Wright

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The Independent Online
Arsenal's stand-in manager, Stewart Houston, has had clear the air talks with his volatile striker Ian Wright and told him: "Count to 10 before you open your mouth."

Last season's top scorer was only a substitute in Arsenal's first two games of the season and claimed the Highbury coaching staff "blanked me for three or four days" after he backed the club's directors for giving their manager, Bruce Rioch, the sack just five days before the start of the season.

Houston called Wright in for a "one-to-one chat" and believes the situation is now settled, but he will still not guarantee him a first-team start at Leicester today, even though Wright made his first 90-minute appearance for the reserves on Wednesday and scored a brilliant goal.

Houston said: "Ian's a strong-minded guy and likes to say his piece but I've told him, like I've told the rest of the players, that the only thing he should concentrate is on the football.

"It is only on the pitch where the players can make a difference and I've told Ian he should learn to count from one to ten before he answers questions about emotive subjects.

"I don't know if he will ever change, but the main thing is we need him back in the team scoring goals. Whether that will be tomorrow I can't say at this stage but the fact is he has not started a Premiership game yet because he hasn't been fully fit after having 12 days out with a calf injury. It takes time to reach the right standard of fitness and we want Ian at his best. He's had a game this week, done well in training and we'll see how he is tomorrow."

Houston, still unsure when new manager Arsene Wenger is going to arrive and take over the team, is again without pounds 4.75m midfielder David Platt at Filbert Street.

Platt, who has hairline crack in his back, admits: "I'm still only up to about three-quarter pace and first-team football needs more than that, but hopefully I won't be out for much longer."

The injury has cost Platt a place in Glenn Hoddle's first World Cup squad for the game in Moldova on September 1, but Houston who hopes to give him a reserve team run-out on Thursday, says: "I've no problem with David apart from the injury which is very unlucky.

"It was obviously a break-down in communications before the West Ham game and people shouldn't read too much into or blow things up out of proportion.