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PHOTO: ARCHIVE FCB

Josep Guardiola's side puts its Liga campaign aside once again to concentrate on the Copa del Rey. On Wednesday they have a great chance to get at least one foot through the cup final door, but they're up against a tough Valencia side that is currently third in the league. It promises to be a gripping encounter between the highest scoring team in the competition, Barça, and the side with the second best defensive record, Valencia. The Catalans are returning to the Valencian Community just a few days after suffering a setback in the league at Vila-real, and are doing so with several key players out through injury. But with concentration and effort, there is no reason why that cannot continue their hunt for what would be the fourth major trophy of the season.

On Saturday, Pedro's name was added to the injury list with a thigh strain. That means there have only been 14 first team players available for training for the last few days, and so the services of several members of Eusebio Sacristán's Barça B squad have been called upon.

Ready in reserve

And some of those reserves have been included in the squad for this crunch cup tie. Like against Vila-real, Jonathan Dos Santos, Sergi Roberto and Cristian Tello get places. With Pedro out, and considering how Barça are lacking in attacking resources, it seems likely that Isaac Cuenca will be given his chance on Wednesday night, a day after he signed a longer and improved contract with the club, and which also made him an official first team member.

This will be the sixth time that FC Barcelona and Valencia have met in the semi finals of the Copa del Rey. In previous meetings, Barça have gone to play in the final three times, and the Valencians twice. Curiously, whichever of these sides eventually went through, in all five cases they went on to lift the trophy. A good omen.

Valencia with injury worries too

Valencia have got this far by beating Sevilla and local rivals Levante. Their manager said in his pre-match press conference that the players are aware that "Barça are always dangerous. They may be missing some very important players, but there are plenty of other important ones left". Unai Emery has called up Alves, Guaita, Rami, Víctor Ruiz, Jordi Alba, Barragán, Miguel, Dealbert, Albelda, Mathieu, Tino Costa, Ever, Feghouli, Bernat, Piatti, Jonas, Soldado and Aduriz.


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