Date: 26th February 2006 at 5:28pm
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Arsene Wenger and Ashley Cole both agree on one thing, rushing Cole back would not be in the clubs or the players best interest.

Cole played 68 minutes of a friendly game with Barnet last week and came though the match relatively unscathed, however he did suffer with the fitness side of his game.

‘The game was good, I needed it and it was a good test for me. I’m happy to be back but I’m still not 100 percent,’ he told Arsenal.com.

‘It’s hard to set a date with muscle injuries. You can come in one day and it will be alright, and I didn’t have any pain for a week and a half, but then I felt it at the end of the game today.

‘You never know, you can get little twinges, rip a little bit of scar tissue and it flares up even more, so I will just have to wait and see how it reacts.’

Cole was out for a few months not so long ago with a broken foot, and was rushed back when Cygan suffered an injury early on in a match.

‘Before the Middlesbrough game I was flying. I trained really hard that week and I didn’t think I’d be involved, but then the boss told me I was in the squad for Saturday.

‘Pascal went down early in the game, I went to warm up but I only had time to run to the corner flag before I had to go on. After being out for three months it probably wasn’t the best thing for me.

‘It has been difficult because I came back from the foot injury feeling really sharp, as fit as I could be really, and I was fresh after not playing many games earlier in the season.

‘The setback devastated me so I’m not going to set a date for my [first-team] return. I’ll come back when I don’t feel the injury, because if I come back too soon it could go again and I’ll be out even longer. There’s no point rushing.’

Arsene Wenger knows that a similar setback would be a disaster for what remains for the rest of the season, and will not be rushed into playing Cole.

‘The plan with Ashley is to play him on Monday night in the Reserves [against Tottenham] and assess him after that,’ said the manager.