IT is a “close call” on who will wear the number 10 shirt for Worcester Warriors’ battle with Gloucester at Kingsholm on Friday (7.45pm).

With Tom Heathcote ruled out with concussion, director of rugby Gary Gold has a choice of either Sam Olver or Jamie Shillcock to start at fly-half.

Olver replaced Heathcote when he was forced off in Worcester’s 41-10 thrashing by Exeter Chiefs last Friday and landed a long-range penalty to level the scores at 3-3.

But with Warriors pinned in their own half the 22-year-old was taken off with Shillcock, 20, coming on in his place on 53 minutes.

“Shilly went well,” Gold said. “He has got a massive left boot so we wanted to try to use that in the second half because we turned into the wind and wanted to use that to our advantage.

“It is a close call between the two. They have both got wonderful strengths and we need to just see what is going to suit us best (against Gloucester).”

Vastly-experienced scrum-half Peter Stringer looks set to make his first start for Warriors after Jonny Arr suffered a blow to his head against Exeter.

New loan signing Jono Kitto, who arrived this week from Leicester Tigers as cover for the number nine slot, is likely to be involved.

Warriors are also expected to be forced into a back-row reshuffle after Matt Cox injured his bicep in training.

The flanker is set to miss the clash, meaning powerful forward Alafoti Fa’osiliva could be given a starting jersey.

Worcester have been boosted by the return to training of full-back Chris Pennell, who has overcome a quad injury, but he is short of match fitness.

Pennell has not played this term and failed to make an appearance in any of Warriors’ friendlies this summer.

There remain doubts over hooker Jack Singleton’s fitness after he left the field in the Sixways side’s loss to Chiefs.

“Jack's arm is still a bit sore but he is in training so hopefully he will be OK,” Gold added.

Another hooker Niall Annett has injured his knee in training after only just overcoming a hamstring problem.

Warriors have yet to pick up a point after three successive defeats but Gold insists the squad remain “positive, hopeful and excited”.

“The attitude is really good within the group and they are just anxious to get back onto the field and keep righting the wrongs,” Gold said.

“We know we have got areas to improve in and I have to give the guys credit for the way they are training at the moment.

“We believe the quality training sessions will flow over into the games.”