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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 1, 2007

Henry in line for Nou Camp bow against Bilbao

Thierry Henry will make his Nou Camp debut for Barcelona against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday after Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o was ruled out for two months.

Eto'o tore his thigh muscle in a friendly match against Internazionale on Wednesday and faces a long spell on the sidelines for the second season running.

Henry, who struck the post after coming on as a substitute in last Sunday's goalless draw at Racing Santander, will therefore start up front for Barca for the first time.

The former Arsenal striker will be flanked by Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi, while there will also be a place on the bench for Mexican forward Giovani Dos Santos.

Dos Santos produced a virtuoso performance in the 5-0 mauling of Inter and is included in the first-team squad for the very first time after obtaining dual nationality this week.

The Mexican was also called up to his national side for the first time this week for the friendly games against Panama and Brazil.

Argentina defender Gabi Milito is in the squad and could make his Barcelona debut against Athletic.

Milito signed from Real Zaragoza in the summer, but missed last week's clash with Racing through suspension.

The Argentinian could now be drafted into a defence missing captain Carles Puyol, who is not quite ready for a first-team return after spending two months on the sidelines.

Eidur Gudjohnsen and Edmilson are also out for Barcelona.

Meanwhile, Deco looks set to start on the bench once again, despite his excellent performance against Inter in midweek.

Coach Frank Rijkaard revealed on Saturday that Deco's display had 'not changed his plans', but warned his star players they must perform if they are to stay in the side.

'Those with the most experience and fame must prove it on the pitch,' he said.

The Dutch coach admits he expects a tough game against Athletic.

'The team must work hard to achieve a good result as there are no easy games in this league,' he said.

Rijkaard also dismissed suggestions that Eto'o's injury had solved him a selection headache, given that he will not have to decide which one of the 'fantastic four' - Ronaldinho, Messi, Eto'o and Henry - to leave out of his favoured three-pronged forward line.

'Eto'o's injury is a problem. It is a real shame for the player and we hope he is back playing as soon as possible,' he said.

Like Barca, Athletic Bilbao also drew their first Primera Liga game last weekend, when they were held to a goalless scoreline by northern rivals Osasuna.

Spain full-back Asier Del Horno has returned to the club following spells at Chelsea and Valencia, and hopes to make his Athletic debut for the second time around at the Nou Camp.

'I am very excited about pulling on the shirt again and playing for this club. I hope I can play some part on Sunday,' he said.

Del Horno, who arrives on loan from Valencia with a view to a permanent transfer, believes the Basque side are on the up again after a disappointing couple of years.

'The last two years have not been easy for the club, but the president has worked hard and a lot of new players have come in. We need to change the mentality and build confidence, but I am certain we can do well,' he said.

Defender Ustaritz Aldekoaotalora should return to the side, but Aitor Ocio is suspended and Joseba Etxeberria is doubtful.