REUTERS - Arsenal will be without striker Olivier Giroud for Tuesday’s League Cup quarter-final against League Two (fourth tier) Bradford City but manager Arsene Wenger still plans to field an experienced side.
The Gunners, who have not won at former Premier League club Bradford for 90 years, travel to Valley Parade off the back of a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
“The only new player who is not available is Olivier Giroud,” Wenger said in a club preview.
“He got a kick on his back on Saturday. He has not recovered and he will be out,” the Frenchman said of his team selection which could include German striker Lukas Podolski back in the starting line up.
“We will have an experienced squad at Bradford. We have a good recovery time ahead of the (Premier League) game at Reading on Monday. So we can use the players we want to use.”
Fullback Bacary Sagna is likely to miss the match and forward Theo Walcott, who scored a hat-trick against Reading in the previous round, remains unavailable.
Bradford, who beat Premier League Wigan Athletic in a penalty shootout to reach their first League Cup quarter-final in 24-years, last played Arsenal in 2001 before a spectacular fall from grace saw them topple out of the top flight into the lower tiers of English football.
But Wenger, trying to guide Arsenal to their first piece of major silverware since the 2005 FA Cup, is taking no chances against a team who are likely to make life difficult with another Premier League scalp on offer.
“We know in England, you need to be ready when you go into a cup game of this intensity. Of course we want to take our chance and go through to the semi-final,” Wenger said.
”We have watched them on video... They are a force in their league, they are a team who play very good football, very efficient as well.
”We know some players, we will study them more today. We take them very seriously, they are very efficient on set pieces, so we will have to be very strong on that.
“The atmosphere is similar to what we know when they were in the Premier League. The two strikers are very dangerous. it is a team who is very compact and very direct as well.”
Norwich City host Aston Villa in an all-Premier League tie in Tuesday’s other Cup match while Swansea City face Championship (second tier) side Middlesbrough on Wednesday.
Chelsea’s Club World Cup commitments have delayed their trip to Championship Leeds United until December 19.
Reporting By Mark Pangallo; Editing By Alison Wildey