SCRUM-half Michael Dowsett looks set to make his long-awaited return to Worcester Warriors’ first-team fold on Saturday (3pm).

With Peter Stringer not named in the 41-man European Challenge Cup squad and Francois Hougaard (adductor) and Luke Baldwin (bicep) injured, Dowsett is expected to come into contention for Warriors’ opener against Brive at Sixways.

The Australian, who made eight appearances last season, has yet to feature this term after an injury-hit summer.

“We will look to integrate Michael on the weekend,” head coach Carl Hogg said.

“He has had a difficult time (with injury), but credit to him he has stayed very positive and we will reintroduce him into the squad, which is fantastic.”

Jonny Arr is likely to retain the number nine jersey, but he could pair up with Jono Lance at half-back after the 27-year-old was registered to play in the competition.

Hogg, who will take charge of Warriors' European programme, said the side would be “very similar” to the matchday 23 who suffered a 29-13 defeat at 14-man Bath last Saturday.

However, he admitted he was willing to make changes to the starting line-up with Christian Scotland-Williamson, Ethan Waller and Wynand Olivier among those knocking at the door.

Full-back Chris Pennell is also a doubt for the battle with Brive after sustained a bang to the head at The Rec.

“There is a temptation (to rest key players),” Hogg said.

“But it is a competition we are targeting and want to progress in.

“We will look at people who have been on benches and performed well for us when they have come on.

“We will probably look at the Anglo-Welsh Cup over the next month to potentially get some players (who have not featured) out there in the firing line.

“But up until then we will look to rotate our squad over the next three weeks, so the game against Brive, the match away to Connacht and then Harlequins the following weekend at The Stoop.

“I think the matchday 23 will be very similar, but we may look at who starts and who comes off the bench and mix it up that way so we can share the workload.”

Brive, who feature ex-Warriors props James Johnston and Na'ama Leleimalefaga, have made a poor start to their Top 14 campaign, losing six of their first seven games.

But the French outfit won both of their meetings with Worcester in last season’s competition, winning 25-24 at Sixways and 17-14 at home.

“They are going to be a physical side and have got some firepower and big forwards who can get them on the front foot,” Hogg added.

“If they do get on the front foot they don’t mind offloading.

“They have got a back-line which is pretty sharp, likes to offload and has pace.

“We know the challenge, but if we can stop them and control the gain-line then we think we are more than a match for them.”