WORCESTER Warriors may put their European Challenge Cup quest at risk by resting key men for Saturday’s home clash with Connacht (3pm).

The Sixways side have given themselves a chance of progressing to the knock-out stages for the first time since 2009 as they sit in second position.

Connacht have established a seven-point gap at the top of Pool Five but Warriors could go through to the quarter-finals as one of the three best runners-up.

They now face two crucial games with Connacht up first followed by a trip to third-placed Brive the following Saturday.

However, director of rugby Alan Solomons stressed the Aviva Premiership was the “priority” this season.

And after three bruising league fixtures, including last Friday’s 46-25 thrashing by Bath, Solomons said he would now “carefully” consider which players he would select for this weekend’s game.

“What we have got to do is sit down and review the present situation and then we will make our plans going forward,” Solomons said.

Warriors’ chief felt his side were feeling the effects of their battles with relegation rivals London Irish and high-flying Saracens over the festive period.

“The London Irish game was very tough because of everything that went with it and then we made a lot of tackles against Saracens last week,” Solomons continued.

“Maybe that told on Friday as well, but I don’t want to take anything away from Bath as I thought that was a splendid performance from them.”

After tackling Connacht and Brive, Worcester host Exeter Chiefs and travel to Dragons in the Anglo-Welsh Cup when they are expected to field an inexperienced side.

Despite having a long break from league action, Solomons looks set to hold several of his first-team regulars back with second row Will Spencer likely to be ruled out of the Connacht clash with a hip problem.

Veteran lock Donncha O’Callaghan could be another player to miss out after playing the full 80 minutes against Bath, while scrum-half Francois Hougaard and centre Ryan Mills have only recently come back from long injury lay-offs.

“If we do play guys against Connacht we will have to look at what we do against Brive,” Solomons continued.

“We have then got an opportunity (to rest players) in the Anglo-Welsh games, so we have got to look at it very carefully.

“But we are coming off the back of a massively physical game against Bath and the Saracens match was very physical as well.”

Before his departure last month, former chief Gary Gold spoke of his desire to make a strong challenge in Europe with Warriors.

But when Solomons was asked what he thought of Worcester’s chances of reaching the last eight, the 67-year-old added: “I think our priority has got to be the Premiership.”

Warriors remain one place above the drop zone, but Irish closed the gap to nine points after picking up a losing bonus point from their 19-15 defeat at Leicester Tigers last Saturday.