January 07, 2012

MADRID (Reuters) -- Andres Iniesta had been passed fit to return to action for Barcelona after recovering from a thigh injury and could return for the city derby at Espanyol in La Liga on Sunday.

The Spanish international damaged a thigh muscle in the King's Cup just before the winter break and missed their Cup last-16 first leg win over Osasuna on Wednesday.

"He's been passed fit so it is almost certain he will make the squad," coach Pep Guardiola told reporters. "As you all know I never decide the team until the last minute. We'll see how they all are tomorrow."

Iniesta's return means long-term injury victims David Villa and Ibrahim Afellay are the only players unavailable to Guardiola.

Former Barca defender Rafael Marquez, who now plays for the New York Red Bulls, joined his ex-colleagues in the first team squad for Saturday's training session. The Mexican was keeping up his fitness during the MLS close season.

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