Ulster coach, Mark Anscombe, was giving Jared Payne and Dan Tuohy every opportunity to prove their fitness ahead of Friday night’s pivotal Heineken Cup Pool Four match against Glasgow Warriors at Ravenhill.
Both players were named in a provisional 27-man squad to face the Scottish region on Tuesday.
It would appear fullback Payne is more likely to be involved this weekend, given that Ulster have not named another fullback in their backs.
Adam D’Arcy who started the past two weeks for the Province is ruled out with a fractured ankle and Ricky Andrews - his replacement last week - is not registered for Europe.
Ulster do have the option to register him and de-register another player, but they have not chosen to go down that road.
Peter Nelson would have been another option for the fullback role, but he is suffering from an ankle injury.
Payne was due to have returned from his groin injury problem for the PRO12, but he broke down during Captain’s run and was withdrawn.
Anscombe was hopeful the extra time allowed ahead of this week’s Euro crunch tie would give the Irish project player time to recover.
However, Friday may come too soon for lock Tuohy.
Tuohy had just returned from a calf tear, but was forced out of last week’s game against Scarlets just before the end of the first half.
Anscombe revealed to the News Letter: “Dan is probably 50-50 at this stage.
“The situation is not perhaps as bad as we had first thought just after the Scarlets game.
“He has made better progress than we had thought.”
He went on: “Jared is making progress and we are hopeful he will come good.
“Both are suffering from muscular injuries so we are able to manage the situation.
“We have lightened their workloads and are hopeful they will be okay.
“It is really a matter of wait and see how they go and make the call later in the week.”
Returning to the Ulster squad is prop, Declan Fitzpatrick, who makes his return from injury having played 50 minutes with Dungannon in the All Ireland League last weekend.
Mike McComish was also added to the preliminary squad up front with Niall Annett not included, but he is likely to feature with the Ravens in the British & Irish Cup pool game against Bristol Rugby, also on Friday.
Rory Best and Iain Henderson are again included, but this week both are expected to feature, certainly Best starting in the front row.
Centre Luke Marshall will have surgery on a fractured finger and will be sidelined for six weeks.
D’Arcy fractured his ankle. He will see a specialist later in the week when an approximate time frame for a return to action will be confirmed.
Chris Cochrane and Michael Allen - who both played against Munster in the PRO12 a fortnight ago - have been added to the provisional list of backs.
In respect of his overall injury situation Anscombe said: “It is what it is. It is not ideal, but you just have to get on with it.
“We have come through patches like this before this season and did okay.
“The guys stepping up and getting the opportunity will do the job we expect them too. We certainly have the confidence in them to up their hands up and that is what we want to see.”
ULSTER PROVISIONAL SQUAD:
Forwards (16): Callum Black, Tom Court, Declan Fitzpatrick, Adam Macklin, John Afoa, Rob Herring, Rory Best, Lewis Stevenson, Dan Tuohy, Iain Henderson, Neil McComb, Mike McComish, Chris Henry, Robbie Diack, Roger Wilson, Nick Williams.
Backs (11): Ruan Pienaar, Paul Marshall, Michael Heaney, Paddy Jackson, Paddy Wallace, Darren Cave, Michael Allen, Craig Gilroy, Andrew Trimble, Chris Cochrane, Jared Payne.