THE spotlight will be back on scrum-half Michael Heaney when he gets hold of the ball tomorrow and he insisted: “I need to trust my gut instinct.”

Heaney will make only his second Gallagher Premiership start of his career when he lines up for Worcester Warriors against Exeter Chiefs at Sixways (3pm).

The last time he filled in for Francois Hougaard it did not go to plan as he struggled in a defeat at local rivals Gloucester 11 months ago.

Heaney has now been trusted with the number nine shirt again with Hougaard ruled out for three to four weeks.

And the 28-year-old Irishman is well aware of the areas he needs to improve to ensure Warriors “tick” against Exeter.

“I need to trust my gut instinct when it comes to game management so when is the right time to kick and when is the right time to get in and try to move the ball quickly?,” Heaney said.

“I also need to look to see if there is any space around the breakdown to have a run.

“I just need to add those little bits and continue to work on those core skills like making sure my kicking and passing is accurate.

“From a nine’s point of view you need that to help the team to tick.”

Asked whether he felt he was second-guessing himself last season, Heaney said: “There was a little bit of that.

“But it also takes a while to bed in with the players around you and know what the coaches want from you.

“That can change depending on who you are playing with and against.

“The experience of last season will hopefully stand me in good stead this year.”

Heaney joined Warriors from Championship club Doncaster Knights ahead of the 2018-19 campaign.

The former Ulster player made nine appearances in the Premiership last term with eight of those coming off the bench.

“I was very pleased with how last season went,” Heaney said.

“I know we didn’t play particularly well in that Gloucester game and I didn’t think I played well either.

“That was a little bit disappointing but hopefully I will be able to right some of those wrongs and play a bit more.”

Warriors recruited two scrum-halves this summer with Jono Kitto arriving from Northland and Gareth Simpson joining the senior academy.

“It makes a massive difference to the squad when you have a number of players that are pushing for positions in the team,” Heaney said.

“That brings a competitive edge.

“It is not just the game on the weekend that matters as you have to pitch up in training as well.”

Heaney ended a run of successive one-year contracts by penning a deal in December that expires at the conclusion of the 2020-21 season.

“It was very nice to sign a two-year deal and have that security for a little bit which is good for me and my family,” Heaney added.

“Whenever you are happy off the pitch it allows you to focus on what you are doing on it. You can get your teeth stuck into it and not worry about anything else."