Ulster head coach, Mark Anscombe, was confident he would have Craig Gilroy and Paddy Jackson for Saturday’s crunch Pool Four Heineken Cup tie in France against Castres.
Both players were named on a 26-man provisional panel on Tuesday.
However, the other injury concern in the back line, fullback, Jared Payne, while named was, according to the coach still 50-50.
“We are monitoring him to see how he goes. The extra time might be enough for him.”
Already ruled out this week was No 8, Nick Williams, and his place will be taken by Roger Wilson.
Ulster may also consider starting Neil McComb in the second row ahead of Iain Henderson, given the big physical threat Castres present up front.
Nigel Brady and Niall O’Connor were both added to the extended squad.
However, provided the backline trio were all fit, the only two changes were likely to come up front.
Ulster have already qualified for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals as winners of Pool Four, but the message everyone was sending out at yesterday’s weekly media session was wanting to make sure they could get a home draw.
To be certain of that in the last eight they would have to take five match points, which means scoring four tries against the French.
That is a big enough ask for a side who have never won a European competitive tie in France.
But starting No 8, Roger Wilson, has experienced a win in France and ironically it was against Castres when he was playing with Northampton Saints.
His old club did Ulster a favour last week by winning 18-12 against Castres which, coupled with the Irish Province’s 23-6 home victory over Glasgow Warriors, saw them the first team to book a place in the knockout stages.
“It was exactly the same situation when I was playing for Saints. We had qualified from the group but we had to win the last game away from home to get the home quarter,” recalled Wilson.
“I think at that stage Castres hadn’t lost a game all season and they’re a very proud team at home.”
“They’re traditionally French, they don’t travel particularly well but in front of their home support they want to do very well and perform for the crowd.”
“I don’t think it will be any different this weekend. I think they’ll pick close to their full strength and they’ll want to keep that home momentum going and take them into the Top 14.”
Wilson missed the start of the season due to a bad hamstring injury but he is feels that he is back to his best.
“At the start of the season when I was coming back I was feeling the after effects of it a little bit but I think now it’s been seven months since it and I’m past the worst of it.”
“Still, it’s one of those injuries where it might take a while to warm up but once I’m into the game I don’t feel any difference.”
Coach Anscombe highlighted yesterday that he was missing at least 13 players to injury, but he was bemoaning the fact.
“It is where we are, but we have been in this situation for a while now and we have got through it.
“I have every confidence we can get through it again.
“It will not be easy in France, but everyone involved wants to get that home draw not just for themselves but for the supporters as well.”