• Andre Gomes is back in training after missing the last two games due to a stomach bug.
  • Aleñá, Ruiz de Galarreta, Oriol Busquets, Costas, Cardona and Lazar Carevic also trained with the first-team.

Andre Gomes could be back in contention to face Espanyol on Sunday (4 February) after Barcelona confirmed on the club's official website that the Portugal international was back in training with his teammates on Friday (2 February).

The 24-year-old midfielder has been out of action since making a late cameo appearance during the 2-0 victory over Espanyol in the Copa del Rey second leg quarter-final on 25 January, due to stomach bug.

The Portugal international missed the weekend's 5-0 victory over Real Betis and also remained unavailable when Barcelona beat his former side Valencia 1-0 in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final on Thursday night (1 February).

However, it looks like the former Valencia midfielder could be back in contention for the derby against Espanyol after he returned to training on Friday.

Gomes has made 21 appearances since the beginning of the campaign and his return is a boost for Ernesto Valverde ahead of a busy run of fixtures which will include the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final against Valencia next week (15 February) and Champions League a trip to Chelsea on 20 February.

Meanwhile, Valverde also promoted Carles Aleñá, Inigo Ruiz de Galarreta, Oriol Busquets, David Costas, Marc Cardona and Lazar Carevic to the first-team training as his side began their preparation for the derby only a day after their Cup win over Valencia.

"With Sunday's clash at 4.15pm CET at the RCDE Stadium in mind, the first team trained on Friday at the Ciutat Esportiva, a session that saw the return of André Gomes after his recovery from a stomach bug," Barcelona confirmed in the club website.

"Also involved in the session were Aleñá, Ruiz de Galarreta, O. Busquets, David Costas, Marc Cardona from the Barça B squad and Lazar Carevic from the U19s. The day's workout was notable for the birthday of central defender Gerard Piqué, who turned 31 years of age on Friday."

Valverde will thus have almost a fully fit squad to choose from to face Espanyol with Ousmane Dembele and Thomas Vermalen being currently the only two players who remain on the sidelines.

The France winger has been troubled with hamstring issues since his summer arrival from Borussia Dortmund and is still recovering from the latest setback that he suffered during Barcelona's 4-2 victory over Real Sociedad on 14 January.

Vermalen, meanwhile, also picked up a hamstring injury in the 5-0 win over Betis on 21 January but was ruled out for only two weeks and should be back in contention soon.

Valverde will be hoping to have them back soon as the Barcelona boss suggested on Thursday night that he is ready to rotate his players in the coming games amid fatigue concerns.

"We're playing a lot of games and getting very little rest in between. It's almost Friday and we have another game on Sunday afternoon. We're going to need make changes and I'll have to have a hard think about them. We have a derby to play. It's an important game, a tense match," Valverde confirmed in the press conference following the 1-0 win over Valencia.

"Yes, [tiredness] it is a concern that all the managers have, the Valencia boss also had it because he had some players out for this game. It is a month with a lot of games. We are going to see if we can handle these things well in order to solve the small problems we may have. Now we have some injured players, let's see if we can recover them and no other players suffer more problems."

Andre Gomes
Gomes has made 21 appearances for Barcelona this season. Getty Images