Ulster hope Chris Henry's return to action is just the start
Ulster expect Chris Henry to return to action against Glasgow Warriors in the PRO12 on Friday night with the flanker having overcome his shoulder injury.
The Irish international originally sustained the injury in Ulster's home win over Toulouse back in December, missing two games before returning against Munster in January.
Having felt he came back too early at the first attempt, patience was the key to his recovery this time around but Les Kiss yesterday confirmed he's slated to feature this weekend.
"Chris has been cleared to come back this week so he's on deck," said the Australian. "If he comes through training then he's good to go."
The remainder of Kiss' panel for the visit of the PRO12 champions is less certain as he awaits news on injury doubts and Irish representation.
Last week saw Paddy Jackson, Stuart McCloskey and Rob Herring released from Six Nations camp to feature against Dragons but with Ireland playing France in Paris on Saturday, Kiss expects to find out later in the week if he will be getting any of his international contingent back this time.
Despite Joe Schmidt saying last weekend that first-choice out-half Jonathan Sexton was 95 per cent certain to face Les Bleus, the Leinsterman missed training yesterday and any degree of doubt over his fitness could influence the availability of Jackson.
With five players having went off injured in the victory over Dragons, Kiss will have more clarity today regarding the availability of Stuart Olding, Robbie Diack, Peter Browne and Ian Humphreys (all undergoing Head Injury Assessments).
Louis Ludik (groin) and Rory Scholes (thigh) are not expected to feature.
"We'll have some qualification tomorrow because we have a couple of HIAs but they all look pretty good at this stage," Kiss said. "The only real concern would be Humphs. We've got Robbie Diack and Peter Browne going through theirs but everything looks good.
"We'll get a final call on Louis Ludik but he's looking doubtful.
"Rory Scholes probably hasn't come along. It's a slight tear, but that sounds worse than it is. It's just a bit of fluid and when he stretches out we don't want to compromise that any further."
With Jackson, and even Luke Marshall, at Carton House, Humphreys and Olding unable to take a full part in training and Peter Nelson out for the season, players with professional experience of featuring at out-half have been few and far between, with Kiss admitting they have had to alter their preparations accordingly.
"We have had to adjust the training sessions this week to allow ourselves to get the right amount of training time. Hopefully those guys will have been cleared soon and can have a session with us," he said. "In terms of the Irish players we'll know when they sort themselves out but we won't know in a hurry."
Ulster enter the contest top of the table with Kiss determined to see his side remain there throughout the Six Nations period.
"It's a challenge to stay there," Kiss added. "If we do that then the rest of the competition has to work out how to handle their situation.
"It's funny when you talk about added pressure, when you're down in fourth or fifth, you have to look at how you want results to fall.
"When you're at the top you can influence that."
Pro12 League: Kingspan Stadium, Friday, 7.30pm