Jim Mallinder says he will wait until the last possible moment to make a decision on Courtney Lawes and Tom Wood ahead of Saturday’s Aviva Premiership trip to London Irish.
The England duo missed last Saturday’s win against Bath with Lawes having suffered a shoulder injury at Newcastle the previous week and Wood nursing a back problem.
Mallinder had been optimistic both men would play last weekend, being forced to withdraw them after naming them in the team.
And he will now make sure they are 100 per cent before considering them for a return to action.
“Both are improving,” said the director of rugby, who will be without Alex Corbisiero after the England prop tore shoulder ligaments in last Saturday’s game. “They might be fit, but we’ll make the decision on Friday.
“They’re getting into training and doing a lot more, but we’ll make sure they’re 100 per cent because it’s pointless putting them in there when they’re not.
“We’ve got lots of strength in depth with people like Jon Fisher coming in and on Monday night for the Wanderers we saw Teimana Harrison, who’s been playing well, Ben Nutley’s back from injury and playing well, Phil Dowson led the side.
“We’ve got lots of back row cover there so we will be making sure they’re 100 per cent fit before we play those players.”