Glenn Hails Nigel

Glenn Roeder is full of praise for Nigel Winterburn as he prepares for a probable swansong at Highbury this weekend - and is delighted he gave him a new contract in the summer.

"The only reason Nigel, at 39, is still playing in the Premiership, is attitude - along with ability," says Glenn.

"Had he not got the attitude that he has ingrained in him he would not be playing Premiership football at 39.

"He has got good habits and has been brought up well. He came to Wimbledon after Birmingham released him, then went to the Arsenal where good habits are ingrained in his mind.

"When he comes out and trains, he trains well."

There is a nagging worry that he may miss the game through injury, however, and Glenn adds: "He is a slight doubt because he had to come off against Newcastle last week with a dead leg.

"But the fact that he has an extra day makes us as positive as we can be that he will make it, and I know he wants to, because I think he views it as his last senior appearance at Highbury.

"But they've been saying that for the last two or three years - so that is quite a few encores.

"He is telling people that this will definitely be his last senior appearance at Highbury, though.

"If he is not fit I am sure he will be the sort of guy to put his hands up and say it.

"He doesn't want the Highbury supporters, who he gave great service to, remembering him as playing half-heartedly or half-cocked because he is not fully fit.

"He will only start if he is 100%, and he will obviously want to go out at Highbury with a good personal performance to remind the Arsenal fans what a talented left back he has been.

"And, from a team point of view, he will want to be part of a side that pulls off what most people would say would be a surprise.

"I think if we got a draw or a win a lot of people would be very surprised - but we have got a lot of belief that we can pull it off."

Nigel might have been plying his trade elsewhere after it looked for a time as if he was not going to be offered a new deal at Upton Park, but Glenn reveals: "There was some psychology in my thinking because it wasn't so much a case of changing his mind - I simply didn't want to give something to Nigel and then take it away from him.

"I would much rather, if you want, take it away first and then give it back to him.

"Because he wanted a decision earlier than I was ready to give him a decision, I felt it would be better to say that there wasn't a contract and then - when I really was ready to make a decision - say 'actually, Nige, I would like you to stay'.

"The coward's way out would have been to say 'there is definitely a contract, Nige' knowing at the end of the season you weren't going to give him one, and take it away from him - but that would have been a rotten thing to do.

"I just felt it was much better to say 'at this moment, I don't think there will be a contract, but...' and he got the contract on merit.

"In what has been a really difficult season he hasn't let the side down."

Reports that Trvor Sinclair is a doubt are inaccurate and Glenn adds: "We are not expecting any other injuries. We have had a few bumps and bruises to get over this week but we think they are all going to be okay."

And he says that Lee Bowyer is finding his feet quickly in his first full week of training.

"Lee is settling in fine; around the training ground he is very low maintenance.

"He looks after himself and goes out to do what he is asked to do - with heaps of quality.

"For anyone to perform in the way he has over the last 18 months, with all the problems, is fantastic credit to Lee to play under that kind of pressure.

"He is just someone who loves to play football and he does it naturally.

"He is no bother and he has got a good attitude."