A BACK issue is likely to cost Graham Kitchener his place in the starting line-up for Saturday’s meeting with Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens (2pm).

Director of rugby Alan Solomons revealed Kitchener’s back was “a little bit stiff” ahead of Worcester Warriors’ Gallagher Premiership opener against Leicester Tigers at the weekend.

The 30-year-old was replaced at the start of the second half by Michael Fatialofa and has missed training at the beginning of this week.

“Graham took a bit of a knock,” Solomons said.

“He was out in the early part of the week but he should be fine.

“(His back) was a little bit stiff before the game. It happened on the day of the game and had a bit of treatment.

“He saw through 45 minutes of the game.

“But as he has not been able to practise in the early part of the week it’s probably prudent to look at him not starting this weekend.”

Anton Bresler and Michael Fatialofa now look set to combine in the second row at Saints with Andrew Kitchener still struggling with a thump injury.

“Andrew is improving,” Solomons said.

“It's not a fracture of the thumb or anything like that. But he has an infection in there which will take time.

"He is on antibiotics so that thing will come right.

“It’s just a matter of time but at the moment it’s not right so he’s not available for selection.

“I am hoping that he will be ready by the following week but he has not taken part in training this week.

“We will just have to wait and see how he goes.”

Young lock Justin Clegg is also in the mix after recovering from a blow to the head sustained while on loan at Championship side Hartpury.

“Cleggy is fine,” Solomons said.

“He has just passed the last one (of his return-to-play protocol tests) so he took part in the practice.

“He should be fine for this weekend.”