THE Pro 12 resumed after a three-week break because of the Celtic players involved in the Six Nations.
Adam Jones is set to start in Belfast despite the announcement he will leave the club at the end of the season.
The former Welsh international will be at the Stoop for Harlequins next season but will line up at tight-head tonight against American-born loose-head Callum Black.
First team coach Paul John said: “We have a big couple of weeks coming up that starts with Ulster away, which is a challenge in itself, and we need to get all the boys back playing and gelling,”
“The following week we have the big European quarter-final derby with Dragons, but our focus has to be on this Friday and Ulster. Every game is important to us.
“We would have liked to have played the following week to Connacht, if we are honest, to keep momentum going.
“However, we tried to make last week as hard as we possibly could (with no game) and the focus this week has all been on Ulster. We are looking forward to getting back on the field.”
The Blues defeated Connacht in their last outing, yet the Welsh side have endured a poor season, currently residing in ninth place.
He added: “We are monitoring the Welsh boys and seeing what condition they are in, our team work closely with the WRU. We will look at Sam and Gethin, who missed the Italy game because of injury.
Sam Warburton is likely to miss this weekend’s fixture
“The amount of effort that Sam has put in the last few weeks has been unbelievable. We will monitor that and see when he becomes available, but he is back in training and in the environment which is brilliant.
“Sam has played a full Six Nations, has played a lot of rugby and led from the front. He is looking forward to the rest of the season and the build-up to the World Cup. He is on a central contract and we will talk about when Sam plays to ensure he plays as well as he is.
“The boys who didn’t play a major part for Wales in the last few weeks are itching to get rugby. We will look to give them a run out; it is great to see them back with a smile on their face and wanting to play.
Ulster, conversely sit just four points behind Glasgow, second in the table.
Ulster’s ranks are bolstered by the return of Irish international Paddy Jackson and his Ulster team mate, Stuart Olding.
Fly Half Jackson and inside centre Olding have been unavailable for selection after they both sustained elbow injuries during January’s defeat at the hands of a rampant Toulon.
Ulster Coach, Neil Doak Said: “To have both players back on the pitch is key for the squad.”
Jackson was unavailable for Ireland during Sunday’s climactic finish to the Six Nations, where a victory against Scotland saw them crowned champions. His shoulder required surgery.
The fly-half played 40 minutes of the 30-24 defeat to Munster ‘A’ in Nenagh. Ulster coach Neil Doak was in attendance at the Tipperary venue and while disappointed to only get 40 minutes of game time, Jackson told the Ulster Rugby website he felt comfortable to be back out on the pitch.
“It was a bit nerve-wrecking at the start and it’s bizarre, but it seems like a blink of an eye since I was out on the pitch. It was good to get back into full contact again and a match time situation. The elbow felt good.
Mr Doak added: “”We are always wary, especially either side of a break,”
“They guys are looking forward to it and we know how big a game it is for us.
“We’ve got to make sure we stay in the top two and giving ourselves a real fighting opportunity to get into the play-offs.”