THERE is a chance Niall Annett could be back earlier than expected from injury to ease Worcester Warriors’ crisis at hooker.

The ex-Ireland under 20s captain was due to be back in contention for Warriors’ trip to Bristol Bears later this month as he recovers from a shoulder problem.

But with Jack Singleton suffering suspected ligament damage to his elbow in the 17-6 defeat at Newcastle Falcons last Sunday and Joe Taufete’e on international duty, boss Alan Solomons is hopeful to have Annett back to challenge Isaac Miller for the number two jersey.

Annett who has been out since the Premiership Cup semi-final loss to Saracens last month trained today and will be assessed tomorrow as Warriors prepare for Saturday’s match against Gallagher Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs (3pm).

Should the 27-year-old not be passed fit to play Solomons admitted he might have to turn to versatile forward Matti Williams to provide cover with academy ace Beck Cutting also out with an ankle injury.

“Isaac is there and we have got Matti who can back up,” Solomons said.

“Niall has come through training so we have got to have a look at him.

“Potentially we could have those three hookers so we should be OK.

“Niall might not be available. His experience would be good and I thought he came through the practice quite well but we have got to see how he reacts tomorrow morning and then make a decision.

“We are obviously not going to play him if there is a risk (of an injury setback) but the positive thing is that he has progressed better than we thought.”

Solomons insisted Williams was “definitely an option” to play at hooker despite not playing in that position this term.

The 27-year-old spent his first two seasons at Warriors switching between the front row and back row but Solomons challenged him to fight for a spot at flanker ahead of this campaign.

“Northampton turned him into a hooker so that is another possibility,” Solomons said.

“One has got to consider all the possibilities.

“Matti is a fantastic team man and will do anything to help us.

“You must remember that Joe is fit and playing for the USA. He has got one more game for them and then he will be back here.”

On Cutting, Solomons added: “Beck picked up an ankle injury playing for Bath University so he is out at the moment.”

Solomons is expected to find out tomorrow when Singleton is likely to return after he visited a specialist tonight.

“It appears that he has got ligament damage to his elbow so we will just have to wait to see,” Solomons said.

Miller found life difficult when he replaced Singleton on 14 minutes at Falcons as Warriors’ lineout faltered.

But the former London Scottish ace is set to face Exeter this weekend.

“Of course losing Jack was a huge blow,” Solomons said.

“Isaac is a terrific young player and missed three months of the season with a broken collarbone.

“For him to be thrust into that game wasn’t easy.

“There are a combination of factors going into the lineout but there is no doubt we missed Jack.”