ULSTER will wait and see how Stephen Ferris progresses with a back injury this week ahead of their second Pool Four match against Glasgow on Friday night at Scotstown.
As expected, the Irish international backrow forward was withdrawn from Tuesday’s pre media session at Newforge - as he was last week - to continue his rehab with the physiotherapy team.
However, he did take part in light training later, but at this stage it is unlikely he will be involved in the game this weekend.
No 8, Nick Williams, trained with the rest of the squad yesterday afternoon and Ulster head coach, Mark Anscombe, told the News Letter that the new summer signing was up and ready to go.
Williams and Ferris were both named in the provisional panel last week ahead of the Castres game at Ravenhill and both were included yesterday in a 28-man squad.
In terms of if either would make it having missed out last week - Ferris withdrawn two hours before kick-off - Anscombe admitted: “Steve is making progress. We will make an assessment after Thursday.
“Nick is all good, he is confirmed, he is up and is available.”
The backrow situation has improved since last week’s early crisis, with Roger Wilson finally making his return bow for Ulster - getting 40 minutes with the Ravens - and Robbie Diack is also back in the mix for selection as well.
However, both players are likely to be involved with the Ravens when they play their second British & Irish Cup tie at Bristol on Sunday.
Certainly if Williams was available it would be a huge boost, given that Glasgow are a physical side, but it does give Anscombe some options to consider in the backrow.
Perhaps naming Williams on the bench, along with Ruan Pienaar, Craig Gilroy and Luke Marshall, would certainly be travelling with strength.
But it is not just the backrow that Anscombe has much thought over.
With Pienaar and Paul Marshall both fit, well and producing the goods at scrumhalf, the Ulster coach has a pleasant, if tough, call to make on the nine shirt.
Marshall scored two tries in the 41-17 win over Castres last week, but replacement Pienaar came on and went on to score the fourth try which also secured a bonus point.
Anscombe was giving nothing away yesterday.
Laughing he said: “You will have to wait and see come Thursday what call we make on that one!”
“Paul Marshall had a superb game last week and was rightly named man of the match and there is no question about the way he played.
“But Ruan is a world class player and we are fortunate to have them both and I think in these games it is a matter of using them the right way.
“It is an 80 minute game and it is no longer a 15-man game. It is really important that we use them both for the best of the team.”
ULSTER PROVISIONAL SQUAD:
FORWARDS: Rory Best, Rob Herring, Nigel Brady, Callum Black, John Afoa, Tom Court, Adam Macklin, Neil McComb, Dan Tuohy, Lewis Stevenson, Johann Muller, Iain Henderson, Stephen Ferris, Mike McComish, Chris Henry, Nick Williams.
BACKS: Paul Marshall, Ruan Pienaar, Niall O’Connor, Paddy Jackson, Luke Marshall, Paddy Wallace, Darren Cave, Craig Gilroy, Andrew Trimble, Tommy Bowe, Jared Payne.