NICK Schonert is poised to make his much-anticipated return to action when Worcester Warriors host Sale Sharks in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on Friday (7.45pm).

The tighthead prop has not played for Warriors since leaving the field on a stretcher in their 24-10 loss to Wasps in early September.

After recovering from his ankle injury, Schonert was due to face Harlequins last Saturday before coming down with an illness.

But backs coach Sam Vesty confirmed the 26-year-old had overcome the sickness bug and was “champing at the bit” to play.

“Nick is enjoying running around in training and can’t wait to get back out on the pitch,” Vesty said.

“So I think you might be seeing Nick at the weekend.

“He has been at the club for a good amount of time now and has grown into a really good player.

“He is a good guy to have around the place and it is always nice to have him back in the team and available for selection.”

Full-back Chris Pennell also missed Warriors’ 41-35 defeat at Quins after picking up the same illness as Schonert. But Vesty said they had stopped the bug from spreading.

“It’s now under control,” he said.

“Like any work environment where people are hanging around together if you get a bit of an illness it can go around.

“But we have managed to maintain that.”

New recruit Andrew Durutalo is set to make his first appearance for Warriors since arriving from Ealing Trailfinders two weeks ago.

Wing Bryce Heem, fly-half Tom Heathcote and lock Darren Barry are also likely to come into the fray as they bid to battle back to full fitness and press their claims for starting jerseys in the Aviva Premiership.

But Vesty stressed the importance of giving Warriors’ rising stars a chance in the competition having seen the likes of back Josh Adams and hooker Jack Singleton flourish last term.

This could open the door for academy aces such as back rower Ted Hill, second row Justin Clegg and centre Will Butler.

“There will be some opportunities for academy guys who will get their first shot, players who need game-time and Durutalo who has just joined us,” Vesty added. 

“It is really exciting mix of talent that is going to be taking to the pitch.

“Last year we had the likes of Josh and Jack making their first appearances for the club in the Anglo-Welsh and then played a lot of Premiership games off the back of it.

“I love this competition as you get young guys going out there, expressing themselves and showing what talent there is around the country.”