Miyaichi set to return to Premier League action


LONDON (AP) -Japan's hottest Premier League prospect could make his return for Wigan after a monthlong injury layoff when the team visits Liverpool on Saturday.

Winger Ryo Miyaichi, who is on loan from Arsenal, has returned to full training after sitting out the last month with a groin injury.

"We'll need to see how he responds to the work this week as the intensity of his preparations go up a level before we decide whether he can make the trip to Liverpool or not," Wigan manager Roberto Martinez said. "The injury was a big blow to him after a bright start to the season, but he remained positive throughout his recovery and is very close to 100 percent again, which is great news for the team."

Miyaichi is one of nine Asian players in the Premier League. Perhaps the most well-known of the group is Japan midfielder Shinji Kagawa, but he will miss Manchester United's match at Norwich on Saturday with a left knee injury.

Miyaichi has only made three appearances for Wigan because of injury problems, but the 19-year-old former Feyenoord winger is known for his speed and was nicknamed "Ryodinho" by Dutch media after comparisons to Ronaldinho.

If Miyaichi plays at Anfield, he will be joined by Ali Al-Habsi. The Oman goalkeeper performed well in Wigan's 2-1 loss to West Bromwich Albion, making a key save from Romelu Lukaku's hard shot in the second half.

Al-Habsi injured his shoulder during the match, but still played in Oman's 2-1 loss to Japan on Wednesday.

Among the other Asian players in the league, Iran midfielder Ashkan Dejagah is expected to play for Fulham against Sunderland on Sunday.

Fulham manager Martin Jol has shown belief in his offseason signing from Stuttgart, involving him in Fulham's last four games. Last Saturday against Arsenal, Dejagah was given his first start.

Queens Park Rangers host Southampton with both teams looking for a win that could push them out of the relegation zone. QPR captain Park Ji-sung, a former South Korea international, will miss the game with a left knee injury.

For Southampton, Japan defender Maya Yoshida will be looking to bounce back from Saturday's 1-1 draw against Swansea. Leading 1-0, goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga gave Yoshida an awkward pass close to his goal which he was unable to control. The ball was taken by Nathan Dyer, whose low shot equalized for Swansea.

Japan and Southampton teammate Tadanari Lee has yet to play in the Premier League this season. He is available to manager Nigel Adkins, but with no new squad injuries the striker is unlikely to make the bench.

South Korea midfielder Ki Sung-yueng will miss Swansea's trip to Newcastle this weekend with a torn hamstring. Ki picked up an injury late in the draw at Southampton. The club expects him to miss seven to 10 days.

Sunderland striker Ji Dong-won is also not expected to play this weekend. Despite the club's lack of goals, the South Korea forward has yet to play in the Premier League this season, and has only twice been part of the squad.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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