Nigeria allow Kanu to play against Villa

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The Independent Football

Arsenal have won their battle with the Nigerian Football Federation for Kanu to solve their forward injury crisis in Sunday's Premiership game at Aston Villa, according to the manager, Arsène Wenger.

The Nigeria coach, Christian Chukwu, had insisted that Kanu would have to conform to Fifa regulations allowing countires to call up players a full 14 days ahead of the African Nations Cup tournament, which starts on 24 January. However, Kanu appealed to the Nigeria coach this week to delay his release until after Sunday's game at Villa Park and it seems his plea has succeeded.

Wenger said: "Kanu will be available for the Villa game. He will go at the earliest on Monday and at the latest on Wednesday. The other options up front are reduced to a strict minimum as we have Jérémie Aliadière, Sylvain Wiltord and Dennis Bergkamp still out.

"Dennis and Sylvain are not far away. They have a small chance to be competitive for the FA Cup tie on 24 January but not the Carling Cup tie before then," he added.

Wenger also believes there is a "small chance" that Kanu could face Middlesbrough next Tuesday night in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final.