DIRECTOR of rugby Alan Solomons is confident of keeping the “core” of his Worcester Warriors squad together for next season as contract negotiations gather pace.

Prize asset Ryan Mills has recently agreed a long-term deal to stay at the Aviva Premiership strugglers.

The centre follows in the footsteps of flanker Sam Lewis who became the first player to commit his future to Worcester this season in late November.

Almost half of Warriors’ 48-man squad is understood to be out of contract next summer, including lock Will Spencer and centre Jackson Willison who have been linked with moves to Leicester Tigers and Bath respectively.

But Solomons said talks with players were progressing “quite well” and is set to use Warriors’ month-long break from Premiership action to nail down deals.

Head coach Carl Hogg will take charge of the team for their European Challenge Cup clash with Connacht on Saturday (3pm).

“Gary (Gold) had done quite a bit of work on the recruitment side,” Solomons said.

“I have taken over from that and have been busy working on it.

“We will continue as normal (in preparation for Connacht), but obviously I have got to give it some attention.

“As I have said to you before there’s a protocol and the club will follow that.

“But we are working hard on that side of things.

“We will have to wait and see and just be patient.”

He added: “I think the process is going quite well and there is a lot of work to be done on it.

“It was very good to get (Mills’ contract situation resolved) along with Sammy’s.

“There are a lot of guys on contracts so it certainly look like the core of the side is going to be here.”