Boost for Barcelona as key figure makes Bilbao trip after emerging as doubt

Barcelona have been handed a boost as it’s reported that Gerard Pique has travelled with the squad to face Athletic Bilbao in their Copa del Rey clash.

The Catalan giants were left reeling on Thursday as they posted an official statement on their site confirming that Ousmane Dembele would undergo surgery on his hamstring next week.

SEE MORE: Bad news for Barcelona: Injury blow as star will undergo surgery next week

That means he will now be sidelined along with Luis Suarez for a significant period in a double blow for coach Quique Setien, particularly in the final third.

However, there was better news as Mundo Deportivo confirmed on Thursday that Pique has travelled with the rest of the squad to Bilbao and so is likely to be in contention to feature.

It comes after he missed training on Wednesday after struggling with a fever, as noted in the report above, and so the fact that he has made the trip would suggest that he has sufficiently recovered from that illness.

Time will tell if he gets the nod in the starting line-up or not though, with the report adding that Samuel Umtiti has joined his teammates at the hotel after being held behind due to court commitments.

In turn, along with Clement Lenglet who has also been named in the squad, Setien has a decision to make over who will form the heart of his defence for the key clash.

However, he isn’t so fortunate to have so much quality depth in attack as Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Ansu Fati will seemingly have to carry the load moving forward with neither Suarez nor Dembele available.

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