Get ready for the Gunners


Pre-season friendly

Friday, 14th July, Kick Off 7.45pm

Meadow Park

The footballing aristocrats of London N5 arrive at Meadow Park this Friday evening, as suddenly live football is upon us once more.

With the thrills and excitement of Euro 2000 whetting the appetite for the next ten months of pleasure and pain, it is perhaps ironic that Arsenal's unique position in having provided so many of the stars seen this summer has compromised their line-up for Wood's big showpiece occasion.

Most of the Gunners' English, Dutch and French internationals are yet to return for pre-season training, but there will nevertheless be several treats on view for the local 'Gooners' who will make up the majority of what is expected to be a 1,500-plus gate.

It is likely that they will see the first appearance in an Arsenal shirt of new £7.2 million Cameroonian international Lauren, signed recently from Mallorca, and he will link up with England man Ray Parlour, who was so unlucky to miss Euro 2000 when injured against Brazil in May.

Also in the squad is former Monaco star Gilles Grimandi, and he is joined by tough Ukranian defender Oleg Luzhny, who gained his 42nd cap for his country at Wembley six weeks ago.

Austrian Under-21 cap Alex Manninger will be in goal, although veteran John Lukic could also feature.

Experienced fullback Lee Dixon has won it all whilst at Highbury, including 22 England caps, and he will be keeping an almost fatherly eye on some of Arsenal's exciting young talent, including 17-year-old Jermaine Pennant and Graham Barret, 18, who scored twice in last year's 6-1 win for the Gunners.

Asked how he is planning to approach Friday's clash, Wood boss Colin Payne replied, 'With fear!'

He added, 'It's a great opportunity for our club to play against such good players, and we should enjoy the occasion.

I hope that with the squad we've got we can give it our best, and naturally the boys don't want to let themselves down.'

Wood's team is likely to see a new face or two, as some triallists get a searching examination!

Newcomers Noel Imber and Adam Hart will share the goalkeeping duties, and the back four will feature Andy Polston, Neil Baker, Alan Hamlet or Lee Harvey and Steve Magona.

Midfield will be contested by newboy Ian Savage, Mark Robson, Andre Delisser, and possibly Otis Hutchings, whilst the forward line sees last term's duo of John Lawford and Neil Selby reunited.

The squad also includes Dominic Grime, Chris McMenemin, returning defender Matt Howard, ex-Chertsey striker Alan Mills, 19-year-old former Wycombe midfielder Nick Leach, and 16 year olds Jack Davis and Guiseppe Basta.

Tickets will be available at the turnstiles on the night, and are priced at £12.50 (no concessions) for the few remaining seats, £10 standing (£8 concessions).