Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova will take charge of the team for their opening game of 2013 at home to city rivals Espanyol in La Liga on Sunday after making a quicker than expected recovery from a throat operation.
The 44-year-old needed a second round of surgery just over two weeks ago after having had an operation to remove a tumour from his saliva glands in November 2011.
"Tito will be in the dugout," his assistant coach Jordi Roura, who is standing in while Vilanova is out of action, told a news conference on Saturday.
"He still has to receive treatment, but he is very well, in high spirits and very strong, and this is the most important thing."
Vilanova oversaw training on Wednesday for the first time since his Dec.20 operation, despite not being expected to return until mid-January.
He began a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy after his release from hospital on Dec. 22 and club president Sandro Rosell said he would alternate work with his treatment.
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