Gibbs backs skipper Fabregas

Kieran Gibbs has backed Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas' leadership qualities, insisting the 23-year-old has a wise head on young shoulders.

Fabregas' abilities as a natural leader have been called into question by team-mate Denilson, according to reports of a television interview he gave in Brazil.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger last night insisted the comments were mistranslated, and now Gibbs has come to Fabregas' backing saying the Spaniard has been a great help to him off and on the pitch.

Gibbs said: "I've spent quite a bit of time with him, away from training as well and for such a young person he's got such a wise head on him.

"He's helped me greatly and I can only thank him for that."

Gibbs was part of the starting line-up as Arsenal cruised past Leeds 3-1 in the FA Cup fourth-round replay yesterday, and the young England full-back admitted his numerous injury setbacks over the last two seasons had been "a nightmare".

The 21-year-old missed much of last season with a broken metatarsal and has suffered from an ankle injury in this campaign.

"I've been in and out and haven't played many games on the trot, so I'm just looking to keep injury free and stay on top of that," added Gibbs.

"It has been a nightmare, I won't lie. It's been annoying, frustrating seeing your team playing all the time and going there and limping off after 15 minutes.

"But I've got a few games under my belt now, so hopefully I can put that all behind me and keep going.

"The way the boss rotates the squad has also definitely helped me. I've no arguments with how he does that, he does it very well."

It is almost six years since Arsenal last won a trophy - that was the 2005 FA Cup - but Gibbs believes they are on course to end that drought.

He said: "Every season's important regardless of how long the club has gone without a trophy, but at the minute we're on course to win something.

"It depends on how we do injury-wise to be honest. You know how players get towards the end of the season and they start tiring.

"If we can keep injury free and everyone fit - and our medical staff can do their stuff to keep everyone fit - then we've got a good chance.

"Getting to Wembley is as important as it is every season and for every big club, so we want to show that we can go there."

Striker Marouane Chamakh (knee) and Denilson (hip) are minor concerns for the visit of Wigan.

Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, meanwhile, will again be out with his shoulder problem, while Abou Diaby and Sebastien Squillaci continue their rehabilitation.

"We have some uncertainty about Chamakh and Denilson," Wenger told TV Online.

"Denilson has been hit on the hip and we will see how he responds tomorrow morning.

"Chamakh today looks good so overall I don't think we have lost anybody last night. They are small doubts."

Wenger added: "Diaby and Squillaci are not far away but they will not be completely ready for the weekend. They will be one week I think.

"Fabianski is still out unfortunately with his shoulder. It still gives him pain and we have to be patient about that."