Barcelona centre-back Samuel Umtiti has taken a significant step in his recovery by completing part of s training session with the rest of his teammates on Tuesday [9 January].
New signing Philippe Coutinho met his new teammates during the workout but the former Liverpool ace trained on his own due to a thigh injury which is expected to delay his debut with the La Liga giants for around 20 days.
Jordi Alba and Thomas Vermaelen also missed the training session with Ernesto Valverde promoting Jose Arnaiz and Carles Aleña from the Barcelona second team to begin preparations for the second leg of the Copa del Rey last 16 against Celta Vigo on Thursday [11 January].
The La Liga giants were held to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture played at the Balaidos stadium and will be looking for a victory at home or a goalless draw to keep alive their hopes of retaining the title.
Umtiti missed that first leg and will remain on the sidelines on Thursday night but the club provided an update on the Frenchman's recovery after confirming that he took part of the Tuesday's training with his teammates.
The France international has been out of action since suffering a hamstring injury during the Catalan's draw against Celta in La Liga on 2 December. Barcelona then ruled him out for around two months but it looks like the centre-back could be back ahead of schedule.
Vermaelen has impressed during Umtiti's absence but the club revealed that the Belgium international and Alba did specific training on their own on Tuesday.
Barcelona have not disclose the reason behind the absence of the two defenders but both completed the full 90 minutes during the weekend's 3-0 victory over Levante in La Liga and could be rested.
Second-choice left-back Lucas Digne replaced Alba in the first-leg when Valverde opted to rotate his squad and rested a number of key players, including Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta.
Valverde is expected to deploy a stronger line-up for the decisive second leg but Arnaiz and Aleña could have a new chance to at least make the bench after both youngsters trained with the first-team.
The 22-year-old forward was indeed key in the first leg by scoring Barcelona's only goal and at weekend was rewarded by Valverde with his La Liga debut.