La Liga Preview: Elche v Barcelona
Second-placed Barca trail their fierce rivals by one point – a margin that could increase to four when Real, who have a game in hand, take on Cordoba two hours before Luis Enrique's side take to the field at the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero.
The Catalan club are on a five-game winning streak, including a 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final on Wednesday.
That tie was set up by a quarter-final victory over Saturday's opponents by a 9-0 aggregate scoreline, which included a 4-0 win in Elche a week ago with a largely second-string side.
Fran Escriba's team are likely to be facing a full-strength Barcelona this weekend, with forward Luis Suarez - this week given the backing of his coach following a slow start to his career at Camp Nou - among the star names at Luis Enrique's disposal.
Suarez has managed just two goals in 11 Liga appearances to date, a modest return following his goalscoring exploits at Liverpool, for whom he scored 31 goals in 37 games last season.
However, the Uruguayan - a scorer in the first leg of his side's cup triumph over Elche - is set to continue in attack alongside Neymar and Lionel Messi, who scored his 29th goal of the season in all competitions during Wednesday's win over Atletico.
"I have no doubt that the goals will come," said Luis Enrique when questioned on the output of Suarez.
Messi, Andres Iniesta and Dani Alves trained inside and separately from the rest of the Barca squad on Thursday to work on "specific treatments".
Midfielder Xavi, meanwhile, will hope to gain a recall to the starting XI after coming off the bench in the 1-0 win over Atletico following a four-game absence with a calf injury.
Elche are 16th in La Liga with 17 points from 19 games, although they have won their last two league matches, triumphing 2-1 at Athletic Bilbao prior to a 1-0 home victory over Levante.
Midfielder Mario Pasalic, who is on loan at the club from Chelsea, says that this recent run has given them hope that they can upset the odds and achieve a shock result against Barca.
"Barcelona are favourites and we have nothing to lose, but I think we can get a good result if we all give 100 per cent and believe in ourselves," said Pasalic.