Former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner could make his first start for Nottingham Forest in Tuesday's (20 September) EFL Cup third-round fixture against the Gunners after achieving full match fitness, according to manager Philippe Montanier.
The 28-year-old, who saw his contract with Wolfsburg terminated by the Bundesliga club on April 14 months ahead of schedule, has made substitute appearances to date against Rotherham United and Norwich City since penning a two-year contract at the City Ground two weeks ago. And while neither of those second-half cameos yielded a maiden goal, Bendtner will no doubt be motivated to open his account against the club for whom he featured 108 times in a colourful nine-year stint before being released in June 2014.
"Nicklas Bendtner is fit and ready to start a game now," Montanier was quoted as saying by Forest at a pre-match press conference.
"Perhaps this would be a fantastic game to start him in. It is a special game for Nicklas but he's a very experienced player. We want him to use his emotion to play well in the game."
Bendtner himself was unsurprisingly put up before the press on Monday and revealed that he is eagerly anticipating a difficult fixture against former employers, for whom he evidently still retains a great deal of affection. He also heaped praise upon the popular Montanier, comparing him to Arsene Wenger in terms of his commendable footballing philosophy.
"I'm really looking forward to a great match in a sold-out stadium," he said. "I'm sure there's going to be a great atmosphere. The focus is purely on getting the win for Nottingham Forest. It'll be a tough game against a strong Arsenal side but we are very confident.
"I will celebrate if I score tomorrow night but I won't go crazy. I have a lot of love and respect for Arsenal as a club. Montanier and Wenger are two managers who want to play football in the right way. It should make for an entertaining game."
On his own fitness, he added: "Physically and mentally I've got no problems and I'm almost close to being 100% match fit. I feel fit and raring to go."
One key absentee for Forest ahead of that tricky Arsenal test is Britt Assombalonga. The former Watford and Peterborough striker is generally revered as one of the Football League's deadliest marksmen when fully fit, and continued his return from a severe knee injury with an excellent brace in a wild 4-3 opening day defeat of newly-promoted Burton Albion. He also opened the scoring in another seven-goal home thriller against Wigan Athletic but hurt himself in the process and has now missed a month with a calf problem.
Montanier has been keen to rotate his squad of late to cope with a typically busy Championship fixture list, dropping the likes of influential ex-Arsenal midfielder Henri Lansbury and Ben Osborn to the bench for Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Norwich City. The Frenchman has also confirmed that defenders Damien Perquis and Thomas Lam are also not yet ready to return from groin trouble and a dead leg respectively.
"Damien Perquis, Britt Assombalonga and Thomas Lam will be out of tomorrow's game. They need a few more days to recover."