Verratti hands PSG boost ahead of Barcelona tie

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AFP
Paris Saint-Germain will likely have their midfielder available for the Champions League tie against Barca after he was passed fit to play Bordeaux

Marco Verratti is in line to make his return from injury on Friday when Paris Saint-Germain visit Bordeaux, ahead of the French club's Champions League fixture against Barcelona next week.

Verratti has not featured for PSG since their 4-1 Coupe de la Ligue win at Bordeaux on January 24 because of a calf injury.

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But he is set to hand PSG a boost ahead of the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with the Spaniards on Tuesday.

Thomas Meunier is also available again after missing the last two games with an ankle problem and Kevin Trapp, who suffered a thigh injury in the 1-1 draw with Monaco last month, is also fit to return.

"Verratti is in the squad. If all goes well, he's ready for tomorrow [Friday]," said the PSG coach Unai Emery. "He has the opportunity to start or return.

"We'll see with the doctor to make the best decision for him and the team."

Playmaker Javier Pastore and midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak remain unavailable for PSG, who can go level on points with Ligue 1 leaders Monaco with a victory over Bordeaux.

Emery's goalkeeper selection will come under scrutiny following Alphonse Areola's high-profile error in the 2-1 win against Lille. 

Nicolas De Preville equalised for Lille after Areola had been dispossessed following a poor first touch from a backpass, only for Lucas Moura's late winner - which he scored from an offside position - to spare his blushes.

Reiterating his defence of Areola, Emery said: "My opinion has not changed on the goalkeepers. When an attacker misses an opportunity, it is a less noticeable mistake. When a goalkeeper makes a mistake and there is a goal, that's more important.

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"Errors make us learn. The goalkeepers must have confidence but also play with safety. But the best players in the world have gone through negative experiences. Whether it's Trapp or Areola, they are two good goalkeepers."

Emery is refusing to focus on Barcelona until after Friday's clash, adding: "We think first to prepare well for this game against Bordeaux.

"We will prepare to play Messi and Neymar after."

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