Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has revealed that captain Cesc Fabregas has a 90% chance of facing Spanish champions Barcelona in the Nou Camp on Tuesday.
The Gunners - already without Theo Walcott - are desperate for their talisman to play and Fabregas himself remains optimistic the hamstring problem which ruled him out of the Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham at Wembley, will have sufficiently healed to allow him to make the first XI.
Wenger revealed that midfield enforcer Alex Song will not be able to shake off a knee injury to make the travelling squad, but claimed there was only a small chance that Fabregas would not travel.
"Fabregas will have a final test today [Monday]," said Wenger. "It is 90% he will travel and be fit. It is vital for us because he is important in the transition between attacking and defending. He is also the leader of the team so we want him there. "Alex Song is completely out. He had a test on Sunday morning and it was negative. Everybody else who played on Saturday should be available."
Midfielder Jack Wilshere has been passed fit to play in the game, after suffering a knock in the 0-0 draw with Sunderland, and insists the expected return of Fabregas should significantly lift the team.
"It will be massive," Wilshere said. "He is our captain, our leader, and is great on the pitch. He is probably our best player. This is a massive week. We will recover from the Sunderland match, focus on Tuesday and then be ready for the FA Cup. Losing the Carling Cup only makes us hungrier.
"We now know we can beat them there, as we did that at the Emirates. Beat them, and we know we have a good chance of winning the tournament. We showed we have the character to come back from a goal down and we are going there with a massive amount of confidence.
"We know we have to defend well and will have to hit them on the counter-attack. If we get a goal, they will have to come at us. There is a respect. We know they have got great players.
"We do not want to go to Barcelona looking for a draw. It will be an open game and we know we will create chances. We are looking to score a goal and then see what happens."
Wenger accepts the trip to Barcelona has been weighing on the minds of his players, but fully expects them to raise their game in the Nou Camp.
''Barcelona has been a little bit in the heads of the players, it is always subconscious,'' he said. ''However, now we have a big game on Tuesday and the size of the game will help. The team is mentally strong and the season is not over.''
''We need some fresh legs for the Nou Camp because we will have to run a lot,'' Wenger said. ''But we have not enough security to sit back and defend. You can't go to Barcelona, play for a 0-0 and not try to score. It is also not the personality of this team.''
Barcelona, meanwhile, will be unable to field either of their first-choice central defenders as captain Carles Puyol has failed to recover from a knee injury while Gerard Pique is suspended. Midfielder Sergio Busquets is likely to drop back, with Eric Abidal set to move across from the left.
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has his own fitness problems after needing several days of hospital treatment on a herniated disc, but is expected to take his place on the touchline.