Alves and Adriano set for Barca return

Barcelona full-backs Dani Alves and Adriano Correia have both returned to training and look set to start Sunday’s tricky La Liga trip to Athletic Bilbao.

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The two Brazilians missed Tuesday’s 2-1 Champions League defeat at Ajax, when centre-backs Carles Puyol and Martin Montoya -- heavily linked this week with a January move to Liverpool -- played out of position on the flanks.

Blaugrana coach Gerardo Martino now looks set to have a more familiar looking defence available as he aims to bounce back from what was his first defeat as Barca boss in Amsterdam.

A club statement released after training on Friday confirmed the positive news, although it did not say that the defensive duo have fully recovered from their injuries.

“The first team returned to work this Friday after having a day off to rest,” the statement read. “Coach Gerardo Martino has begun to prepare for Sunday’s challenge against Athletic Club.

"The players Alves and Adriano took part in the session, during which they continued to recover from their respective injuries. Among the players out on the grass at the club’s Ciudad Deportiva was [Juvenil winger] Adama, while Jordi Alba continued his work apart from the group.”

Barca have another training session scheduled for Saturday morning in the Catalan capital, after which Martino’s squad for the game in Bilbao should be announced.