Irish pair Chris Henry and Stuart McCloskey look to boost Ulster in time for Zebre match
The recent break in Guinness Pro12 action may have done Ulster some good after all with the province expecting reinforcements to return from injury for the clash against Zebre at the end of this month.
Les Kiss's men have lost three in a row in the league, and fallen from the table's summit to outside the play-off places, but hope to be boosted by the returns of Chris Henry and Stuart McCloskey for the visit of the lowly Italians next time out on November 25.
Back-rower Henry, whose presence has certainly been missed in recent weeks, is yet to play in this campaign after off-season shoulder surgery but Ulster have said the openside has resumed contact training.
So too has centre Stuart McCloskey, the Irish international who has been out of action since the win over Glasgow in September having broken a bone in his foot.
Alan O'Connor, who suffered concussion in the loss to Munster, has come through the return-to-play protocols and will also be available for selection.
Prop Ross Kane, who left the field on a stretcher last week, has sustained ligament damage and will miss six weeks.
Darren Cave (calf), Jacob Stockdale (finger infection), Louis Ludik (fractured cheekbone), Rodney Ah You (knee) and Ricky Lutton (toe), who have all missed time over the last month, are being monitored ahead of the Zebre game, but Roger Wilson is a serious doubt with a knee injury.
There was again no time frame placed on the returns to action of new signing Marcel Coetzee, Pete Nelson or Matthew Rea.