Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care is set to return to England's Six Nations squad later this week following a recent ankle injury.
Scrum-half Danny Care is set to return to England's Six Nations squad later this week following an ankle injury, Stuart Lancaster said on Wednesday.
Care limped off the field during Harlequins' 16-13 Heineken Cup defeat by Clermont Auvergne at the Twickenham Stoop on January 11.
But his expected return to full fitness will be a boost to Lancaster, who has seen injuries deprive him of eight potential first-team players for England's Six Nations opener against France in Paris on February 1.
The likes of backs Ben Foden, Marland Yarde and Manu Tuilagi may miss the entire tournament.
“Danny Care's hopefully going to train on Thursday,” said Lancaster at the Six Nations launch in London on Wednesday.
“Other than that we actually came through the European week pretty well.
“We gave (prop) Dan Cole a rest because of a sore neck but he's fine. Ben Foden and Marland Yarde are making good progress and they should be February-time in terms of a return to club rugby, but we don't know beyond that yet.
“Manu's making good progress but depending on where Leicester see him, we'll make sure he's right.”
England are without a number of centres in Tuilagi, Joel Tomkins, Henry Trinder and Jonathan Joseph.
But experienced Saracens midfielder Brad Barritt is fit again following a long-standing foot injury.
“It's great to have Brad Barritt back there and he has trained for the first time with us since March last year,” added Lancaster.
“We've got some decisions to make in the centres, but we are pleased with Kyle Eastmond, Billy Twelvetrees, Luther Burrell and Brad.
“The good thing about Luther is he came to Argentina (last year), he was involved in the QBEs (November Tests) even though he didn't play.”
And Lancaster, who saw England finish runners-up to champions Wales in last season's Six Nations, was not overly concerned that many of his fit midfielders have a preference for playing inside centre.
“That concept of inside, outside centre is a slightly outdated one for modern rugby,” he explained.
“You need one guy to get you across the gain-line and one to act as a playmaker.”