WORCESTER Warriors are sweating over the fitness of Ben Te’o, Jackson Willison and Tom Heathcote ahead of the visit of Exeter Chiefs to Sixways on Friday (7.45pm).

Fly-half Heathcote is recovering from a neck problem sustained in Warriors’ 24-10 loss to Wasps in Aviva Premiership last Sunday.

To add to director of rugby Gary Gold’s worries midfield pairing Te’o (arm) and Willison (ribs) are carrying knocks while centre Wynand Olivier (hamstring) and lock Will Spencer (ankle) remain on Warriors’ lengthy injury list.

“Ben and Jackson are struggling, but hopefully they will be OK for Exeter,” Gold said.

(Wynand and Will) are a couple of weeks away, so it does not look like they are going to be available.”

But optimism surrounds the progress of Heathcote after Gold initially feared the stand-off had suffered his third injury in less than 12 months.

“I am thankful it wasn’t a head injury,” Gold said.

“He is back and I think he will be available for this weekend which is great news.

“We have taken some heavy shots in one or two positions, so to lose Tommy would have been a blow.

“We have got Jamie (Shillcock) and Sam (Olver) so we would have cracked on, but it is good to know that Tommy is there.”

Gold will be without tighthead prop Nick Schonert after he ruptured ankle tendons against Wasps and faces a lengthy lay-off.

Biyi Alo is expected to claim the number three shirt, but Warriors’ scrum did struggle when Schonert left the field.

And Gold admitted the set piece had been an area of focus this week as they prepare to come up against the defending champions.

“The scrum was under pressure, there is no point denying it,” Gold said.

“So that is something we have spent some time on because no doubt the next team coming along is going to try to target us there.

“It just so happens that Wasps and Exeter have similar strengths and that’s probably why they were in the final together last year.

“They have both got very strong forward packs, got good scrums and driving games.

“And when they don’t do that to you they have got a very expansive game plan.

“But the messages have been quite similar. We know what those teams are about and have studied them.

“But we are still doing things that are not satisfactory by our standards and I think it is important that we put our time and energy into the things like winning our lineout.

“What is the value in worrying about Exeter’s or Wasps’ game if we can’t win four lineouts in a row.

“But I am excited as I have got a solution to fix the problem. If I didn’t have a solution or I didn’t think the players were good enough we would have a real problem, but that’s certainly not the case.”