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Vilanova to return to Barcelona bench

Barcelona assistant Jordi Roura has confirmed that Tito Vilanova will return to the bench for the derby match against Espanyol on Sunday.

The Barca boss has recently been recovering following cancer surgery, and although Roura confirmed he must still undergo some treatment, he will be ready to take his place in the dugout for the La Liga clash this weekend.

“Tito will sit on the bench tomorrow against Espanyol,” he said.

“We still have to do the treatment and this is a longer process, but he is very strong and lively. His spirit is extraordinary.”

Roura went on to praise the impact of Espanyol coach Javier Aguirre, and expects their cross-city rivals to make life difficult on Sunday.

“Matches against Espanyol always have an added difficulty because it is a derby, because there is a special motivation. But also, with Aguirre, Espanyol has undergone a change. This has been beneficial, because they have gone four games without defeat,” he said.

Roura was also quick to point out that there is still a long way to go in La Liga this season, despite Barcelona’s healthy lead at the top of the table.

He backed his side to continue to show their fighting qualities this season.

“It’s not over. There is a long way to go in the league, we’re going game-by-game and trying to win them all,” he said.

“The team has already shown its mettle in adversity, as in Valladolid, and I have no doubt they will continue to do so.”

Sat 5 January, 2013
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