Arsenal defender Rob Holding is reportedly closing in on a comeback from injury.
The centre-back has been out for nine months after suffering a cruciate ligament injury last December, joining Hector Bellerin and now-Watford striker Danny Welbeck as long-term absentees for the Gunners.
Holding has featured several times for Arsenal's Under-23 team in the Premier League 2 but is scheduled to play the full 90 minutes for the first time against Everton's U23 side on Friday night, according to the Daily Mail.
If he completes the game without suffering an injury setback, he will then be available for Arsenal's visit to Vicarage Road to face Watford in September but will still miss the games against Liverpool and the North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur beforehand.
The Gunners did not lose in the 16 games Holding played prior to his season-ending injury, and the Englishman will hope to reclaim a starting spot at the heart of the Arsenal defence.
The 23-year-old will have to compete with David Luiz, Calum Chambers and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, although Shkodran Mustafi does not appear to be part of Unai Emery's plans as a buyer is sought for the German.body check tags ::