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Brian McLaughlin has named his preliminary squad for the RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Ospreys this Sunday at the Liberty Stadium (kick off 16.30pm).

Darren Cave has been ruled out after aggravating an old hamstring injury during Friday’s win over Cardiff. The injury kept him out of action for a large chunk of last season but his exclusion is precautionary and it is hoped he will make a speedy recovery.

Ian Humphreys, who also went off injured against Cardiff, has responded well to treatment and should be available for selection this week. The squad is otherwise as expected, although young halfbacks Blane McIlroy and James McKinney have been included.

Both sides go into the game unbeaten and are locked on 12 league points, just one behind leaders Munster. The Ulster’s only defeat in their last nine matches against Welsh opponents was in the equivalent game at Liberty Stadium last season when they narrowly lost 23-22.

Ulster Squad Forwards

Jerry Cronin, Paddy McAllister, Declan Fitzpatrick, Adam Macklin, Andi Kyriacou, John Burns, Nigel Brady, Tim Barker, Lewis Stevenson, Dan Tuohy, Neil McComb, Pedrie Wannenburg, Mike McComish, Chris Henry, Willie Faloon, Robbie Diack

Ulster Squad Backs

Paul Marshall, Blane McIlroy, Ian Porter, Ian Humphreys, Paddy Jackson, James McKinney, Luke Marshall, Nevin Spence, Ian Whitten, Craig Gilroy, Conor Gaston, Jared Payne, Adam D’Arcy

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