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Three midfielders and a forward called up from the B team...

Barcelona are set to call upon four reserve team players to bolster their numbers as they look to maintain their six title defence.

With Seydou Keita and Yaya Toure absent for January due to African Cup of Nations commitments with Mali and Ivory Coast respectively, coach Pep Guardiola will turn to youth to strengthen his squad.

The Barca coach has targetted midfield as the main area needing reinforcement with three midfielders and one attacker drafted in. Gai Assulin, Thiago Alcantara, Victor Vazquez and Jonathan dos Santos will all link up with the first team when the Blaugrana resume training this afternoon after the winter break, according to Sport.

Guardiola has long stated his confidence in calling upon the reserve players when needed and now looks set to do so with the quartet all told that continuing in the first team set up is contingent on how they perform.

Paul Madden,