British Lions duo Tommy Bowe and Rory Best are expected to return and give Ulster a boost ahead of Saturday’s second Irish festive derby clash in the Guinness PRO12.
Ulster go to the RDS, Dublin for an afternoon game against defending PRO12 champions Leinster, currently sitting on place above their Irish rivals in the table - three points ahead.
Ulster are already depleted of several front line players due to injury.
And the coaching staff were keeping their fingers crossed that backrow forward, Roger Wilson, would recover from what appeared to be a stinger injury to his right shoulder during last Friday’s 13-10 win over Connacht in Belfast.
However, the return of Best and Bowe - who were rested last week under the IRFU player management programme - will be a boost for head coach Neil Doak.
Best is set to come in and replace last week’s man of the match, Rob Herring, while Bowe will be a massive boost at three-quarter.
Ulster have three away games on the bounce. After Leinster they go to Treviso in the PRO12 and then travel to France for a European Champions Cup match against Toulon.
Leicester Tigers will be at the Kingspan Stadium at the end of January before a short break as the Six Nations Championships get underway.
Yesterday, Leinster Rugby confirmed the game this weekend - which is being screened live by Sky Sports - is a sellout.
It is the first time this season that the RDS has sold out although the Champions Cup game against Wasps in October was just shy of 18,000 supporters.