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Cancer-battling Vilanova set for Barca return

Published on Jan 4, 2013 5:29 PM
 
This file photo taken on Dec 4, 2012, shows Barcelona's coach Tito Vilanova giving a press conference after a training session at the Sports Center FC Bacelona Joan Gamper in St Joan Despi, near Barcelona on the eve of a Champions League football match against Benfica. Barcelona expect to have Vilanova back at the helm following cancer surgery as they return to league action after the winter break with a local derby against Espanyol. -- PHOTO: AFP

MADRID (AFP) - Barcelona expect to have coach Tito Vilanova back at the helm following cancer surgery as they return to league action after the winter break with a local derby against Espanyol on Sunday.

Although news that Vilanova had a recurrence of a tumour on a saliva gland sent shockwaves around the Catalan club, the impact has been limited by the stoppage over Christmas.

After a successful operation he has missed just one game, an away victory against Valladolid where his assistant Jordi Roura took charge and Barcelona extended their record start to the campaign to 16 wins from 17 games in La Liga.

Vilanova returned to the training ground this week where fullback Eric Abidal, who has had his own battle with cancer, is also on the comeback trail.

 
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