Ousmane Dembele, Thomas Vermaelen and Andre Gomes will remain on the sidelines when Barcelona take on Valencia in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final on Thursday (1 February) due to varying fitness issues, the club have confirmed.

However, January signings Philippe Coutinho and Yerry Mina have both been included in Ernesto Valverde's 18-man squad with the boss also welcoming Denis Suarez back after the versatile midfielder missed the last three games against Real Betis, Espanyol and Alaves for unspecified technical reasons.

Dembele, 20, is yet to feature since suffering a setback on his hamstring injury during Barcelona's 4-2 victory over Real Sociedad on Sunday [14 January].

Vermaelen meanwhile has also missed the last two victories over Espanyol and Alaves after picking up yet another hamstring problem in the 5-0 win over Betis on 21 January.

The Belgium international is expected to be back in the coming days but the Copa del Rey visit of Valencia will still come too early for him and Gomes, who already missed the weekend's 2-1 victory over Alaves in La Liga through illness.

"For this semi-final first leg, the Barça coach has called up a total of 18 players, though he can't count on the injured Dembélé and Vermaelen, nor on André Gomes who hasn't recovered from digestive discomfort," the La Liga giants confirmed via the club website.

Manager Ernesto Valverde will still be able to name his strongest line-up against Valencia after some of his regular starters were rested during the weekend's 2-1 victory over Alaves in La Liga.

Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto began the league clash against the Basque side on the bench and the key Barcelona trio should recover their respective places in midfield and defence to face Valencia.

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are also expected to remain in the starting XI but there are question marks over whether Coutinho will start.

The club record signing made a late cameo debut in the previous Copa del Rey round against Espanyol before starting his first game for Barcelona in the weekend win over Alaves.

However, the former Liverpool ace may have to wait for his chance from the bench on Thursday night with his compatriot Paulinho in contention to start alongside Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic and Busquets in the middle of the park.

Meanwhile, Mina is also in the squad but it remains uncertain whether Valverde will finally hand the Colombia international his debut as Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti are both fit and set to form the heart of the back-line.

Valencia enjoyed an impressive opening half of the campaign and they already held Barcelona to a 1-1 draw when both clubs faced each other in La Liga in November.

However, Marcelino Garcial Torral will have to deploy a weak side this time after three key players - Gonzalo Guedes, Ezequiel Garay and Geoffrey Kondogbia - suffered respective injuries during Los Che's 4-1 defeat to Real Madrid in La Liga on weekend.

Lionel Messi
Messi is set to lead Barcelona in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final against Valencia. Getty Images