Marshall ruled out as growing injury list tests Ulster reserves
Ulster's worrying injury list has become a little bit clearer with international prospect Luke Marshall due to undergo surgery this afternoon on a broken bone in his left hand.
Marshall is definitely out of Friday's Heineken Cup clash with Glasgow at Ravenhill but at least Ulster will have the experienced Paddy Wallace to come in to partner Darren Cave in midfield.
While coach Mark Anscombe said that both Jared Payne (groin) and Dan Tuohy (calf) will be given until the last possible minute to recover from their problems, it is unlikely that the Ireland second-row will be ready in time.
Tuohy exacerbated the calf injury that had sidelined him for three weeks during Ulster's bonus-point win against Glasgow last week, and Friday will come too quickly for the Irish lock. With Johann Muller not available until the Pro12 clash with the Ospreys at the start of February, Lewis Stevenson and Neil McCombe are expected to continue their partnership in the engine room.
However, Anscombe looks set to toss Payne into the mix. An integral part of Ulster's attacking strategy, the Kiwi full-back, who has aspirations to play for Ireland, is still undergoing treatment for a groin problem, and is likely to be patched up and rolled out. Anscombe will also have Ireland tighthead Declan Fitzpatrick back in the 27-man squad now that he has recovered from a head injury.
Anscombe has managed very well to cover any injury problems so far this season and the loss of Stephen Ferris, Tommy Bowe, and skipper Muller (for the second time this season), have been glossed over due to the depth of talent in the squad.
"Like every team, coaches want to put out the best team at every possible chance," said Anscombe. "But the nature of the game, being a contact game, bodies get broken down and so you don't get what you want all the time. You just have to get on and deal with it.
"Yes, we have injuries that we are monitoring at present and hopefully will be all right, but we are no different from any other team," added Anscombe, who realises that it will be a different Glasgow coming to Ravenhill on Friday from the one that they have beaten twice already this season.
"Let's not forget that Glasgow are second in the Pro12. We know we have to have our 'A' game in operation at home to get the result we seek."
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