Theo Walcott urges Arsenal fringe players to step up against Blackburn in the FA Cup

Key players likely to be rested with Bayern Munich tie next week

Theo Walcott has challenged Arsenal's whole squad to stand up and be counted when their FA Cup dreams are put on the line against Blackburn this weekend.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger could again utilise some of his fringe players when the npower Championship side come to Emirates Stadium for Saturday's fifth-round tie, with the likes of Jack Wilshere and captain Thomas Vermaelen both carrying injury concerns ahead of the Champions League showdown with Bayern Munich.

Walcott, though, maintains whichever 11 is sent out against Rovers, they must produce the required display to keep Arsenal on course for Wembley.

"A lot of players are back from international duty and need a bit of a break, so some may be rested for the FA Cup game, but that's just as important as we want to go far in that competition," Walcott said on the club's official website, arsenal.com.

The Gunners battled to a 1-0 win at Sunderland, where full-back Carl Jenkinson was sent off for two cautions and so will be suspended against Blackburn.

The victory edged Arsenal up into fifth to stay within striking distance of arch-rivals Tottenham, whom they face at White Hart Lane in a fortnight.

Walcott feels his team have the strength of character needed to come through the challenges ahead.

"We are very confident [of finishing in the top four]. We can battle through any sort of situation," he said.

"The teams around us are winning as well, but we have just got to make sure we look after ourselves and try to win as often as we can.

"We will see where we are at the end of the season, but we have got to show the belief we did at Sunderland.

"I felt there were a lot of winners in that dressing room and the boys were fantastic."

Wilshere was withdrawn during the second half at Sunderland as a precaution and the England midfielder is expected to recover from a dead leg in time for the visit of Bayern.

Vermaelen, meanwhile, is understood to have been receiving injections to alleviate and ankle problem which has seen the Belgian miss the last two matches.

Defender Laurent Koscielny pulled out of the warm-up at Sunderland because of a calf problem suffered on international duty with France, and is another who will be closely monitored.

With Jenkinson suspended, Kieran Gibbs still sidelined by a thigh problem and Andre Santos having joined Brazilian side Gremio on loan, Wenger has seen his defensive options stretched.

Ignasi Miquel, the 20-year-old Spaniard, came on for the closing stages at Sunderland and looks set to be involved again this weekend.

Arsenal, meanwhile, are reported to have sent a scout to watch Victor Wanyama at Celtic last night where the Bhoys were beaten 3-0 by Juventus in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash.

Wenger is known to be keen to bring in another defensive midfielder, having failed in a deadline-day move for Etienne Capoue of Toulouse.

PA

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album