WINGER Noah Heward has suffered a "quite significant" ankle injury that is likely to keep him sidelined for a number of weeks.

Heward has been involved in recent matches for Worcester and has impressed generally on the wing but is unlikely to feature until the new year.

Evesham Journal: Noah Heward in action against Gloucester Rugby in round three of the Gallagher Premiership.Noah Heward in action against Gloucester Rugby in round three of the Gallagher Premiership.

However, Jonathan Thomas suggested that a number of players are nearing a return but the thinking is that none of the following will be involved in the Premiership Cup game this weekend with Bristol Bears.

Melani Nanai, Ollie Lawrence, Willi Heinz and prop Rory Sutherland are all being looked at for a return in the Premiership clash with either Newcastle Falcons - November 27 - or the home clash with Wasps at Sixways - December 4.

Warriors had a complete week off last week after playing eight Gallagher Premiership games in a row.

They head into the cup this Saturday when they face Bristol at Sixways (3pm kick-off).

The competition is usually one where sides utilise their squad and also give some game time to youngsters within their squad.

Thomas indicated that it would be a "balanced" side for the tussle with the Bears, reiterating the importance of winning the game.

"We wont make wholesale changes," he said.

"Winning is important for us given where we are at the moment with our development. We are playing at home and first and foremost, we want to win the game, that's important to us.

"We will look at balance, keeping a strong spine but giving those who have spent a fair bit of time on the bench some minutes."

Thomas suggested that the likes of Alex Hearle, Jack Johnson, Will Butler and Tom Dodd would be involved but for the fourth week now, Chris Ashton will not.

He is supposedly serving a suspension but Thomas stuck with his usual response of; "Chris is not available for selection."

The head coach also specified that some players have returned form their loan spells in the Championship and National League 1 to be included in the squad.

In other news, recent reports have surfaced that Steve Diamond has been linked with Worcester in a 'coaching advisory' role.

But Thomas would not involved himself with the rumour: "I have always said it in terms of recruitment or anything like that, I won't comment on speculation.

"It wouldn't be fair on anyone."