Rob Webber and Peter Stringer for Bath Rugby against Exeter Chiefs
Rob Webber is in line to make his Bath Rugby debut this weekend – a year after first agreeing a move to The Rec, writes Harry Abbott.
And Irish scrum-half Peter Stringer could also make his Bath bow after signing as short-term cover for the injured Michael Claassens this week.
England hooker Webber has been sidelined with a shoulder injury since making a switch from Wasps last summer but is expected to return during Saturday's visit of Exeter Chiefs in the LV= Cup (2.15pm).
Flanker Carl Fearns is also back in contention having been ruled out since limping off against the Chiefs three months ago but head coach Gary Gold is unwilling to risk reintroducing two long-term absentees in the same game.
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"Rob Webber and Carl Fearns are back in full training and available for selection," said Gold, who added that injuries to other players had forced his hand.
"I'm not sure they are both going to get selected but one of the two will, I'm sure.
"Rob hasn't played rugby since March. I think we are going to select him but it'll be tough for him to come up against a quality of team like Exeter.
"We know how tough Exeter can be. We've played them twice before this season and thankfully haven't lost. They are an outstanding team, a real handful.
"We are probably going to pick a team where we've got a couple of guys coming back from injury because we are struggling with a couple of other injuries.
"With Fearnsy, we have to be careful that we are not loading the team with too many players who haven't played for a while."
Stringer, meanwhile, is also likely to make his first appearance in Bath colours having signed on a short-term loan from Munster.
The 35-year-old, who has 98 caps for Ireland, is expected to be at the club for at least eight weeks.
"I don't necessarily think Pete will start but we want to get him game time as quickly as possible," Gold said.
"He's a brilliant professional, trains well, speaks well and is a good leader. He's someone who I think can add a lot of impetus to the squad.
"We've lost a stalwart in Mikey at the moment but it's wonderful to be able to replace him with someone like Pete.
"I had him at Newcastle last season and we stayed in touch. He is in the twilight of his career but he's just hungry to get out on the park.
"The situation will be reviewed at the end of March to see if Munster need him back.
"If they don't need him he'll stay and if they do he'll have to go back, but I'm sure by then Mikey will be back for us anyway."