2 in, 5 out: Barcelona name squad for Mallorca clash

The squad of players set to be depended upon by Barcelona head coach Xavi to get the better of Mallorca on Friday evening has been unveiled.

And it features, most notably, two fresh call-ups from Barca’s burgeoning youth ranks.

The Blaugrana will mark their return to action later today, when they play host to relegation-battling Mallorca at Montjuïc.

The evening’s hosts will head into proceedings aware that nothing but a victory will suffice, in their ongoing efforts to keep the club’s dwindling La Liga title hopes alive.

And yet, with one eye on next week’s Champions League Last-16 return leg meeting with Italian giants Napoli, boss Xavi will have something of a balancing act on his hands when it comes to personnel.

In turn, in his search for reinforcements, the Spanish tactician, as alluded to above, has turned to La Masia.

Alongside all of regulars Diego Kochen, Pau Cubarsí, Héctor Fort, Marc Guiu and Marc Casadó, two emerging talents have been called up for matchday duty at senior level, one for the very first time.

The pair in question? Defender Mika Faye, and midfielder Unai Hernández.

Highly-regarded stopper Faye was the subject of intense January interest from abroad, but, after Barcelona made clear their faith in his talents by way of rejecting considerable offers for the services of the Senegalese, he has today been rewarded further, with his first shot at first-team football.

On the other hand, absent from the Blaugrana’s latest squad, as expected, are the freshly-injured Pedri and Frenkie de Jong, as well as long-term absentees Marcos Alonso and Ferran Torres.

Star defender Ronald Araújo, meanwhile, sits out a one-game suspension owing to an accumulation of yellow cards.

Conor Laird | GSFN

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