Ulster have been boosted by the news that Rory Best, Andrew Trimble and Jared Payne are available for this week's match against Connacht.
Friday's PRO12 clash at Kingspan Stadium could see all three Ireland internationals return to the white jersey for a critical derby fixture.
However, Ulster will be minus lock Alan O'Connor (dislocated shoulder) and number eight Nick Williams (groin) against the league leaders.
Other players unavailable this week are fly-half Ian Humphreys, full-back Louis Ludik, wing Tommy Bowe, prop Ruaidhri Murphy, centre Sammy Arnold and prop Wiehahn Herbst, while Andrew Warwick and Mark Best were unable to train on Tuesday due to illness. The pair will be monitored.