Dorian West admits Calum Clark’s lengthy lay-off has been difficult for the flanker.
Clark injured his shoulder in the pre-season win at Wasps and later suffered a setback in training, meaning he was forced to have surgery.
He was expected to be out until the new year and there is still no sign of last season’s players’ and supporters’ player of the season returning.
Forwards coach West said: “Calum Clark’s was a long-term injury and he had an operation so he’s still trying to recover from that, which is sometimes a bit slower than you want, especially if you’ve got the character of Calum who wants to play every minute of every game.
“It’s been difficult for him.
“There’s no doubt with Calum that as soon as he’s right to play, he’ll be holding his hand up.”
Kieran Brookes is another man who was forced to go under the knife to rectify an injury.
The prop suffered a knee problem in the draw with Racing 92 in December and is now on the recovery trail.
“Kieran’s done really well,” West said. “He’s pushed himself hard, whether that’s because he wants to play for us or whether he sees an opportunity to get back involved with England.
“Credit to him, he’s working well so he won’t be far off.
“We need to see how it goes with him. He’s getting there and he’s start to do some on-feet stuff so we’ll see how things go over the next few days and weeks how he progresses.”