Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder is confident he will have Kieran Read and Israel Dagg back this weekend, but Dan Carter's fitness will be "touch and go".
All three All Black stars suffered injuries in the Test series against Ireland and were sorely missed on Saturday when the Crusaders lost narrowly to the Hurricanes in Christchurch, so Blackadder will be desperate to have them back in the mix for the vital clash with the Chiefs this weekend.
The Crusaders boss said that whilst he is optimistic that Read and Dagg will be available when they take on the New Zealand conference leaders in Hamilton on Friday, he is less confident that Carter will recover from his hamstring strain in time.
"I don't think so ... he [Carter] will be really touch and go for this weekend," he told Fairfax NZ News.
Read suffered knocks to the head in the first two Tests against Ireland and was rested for the third Test and last week as a result of the concussion, with skipper Richie McCaw shifting to No.8 in his absence.
Blackadder said that Read has recovered well and added that the Crusaders are likely to need his leadership abilities in a game which will have a huge influence on their play-off hopes.
"It looks like 'Reado' is going to be good. I think he is very keen to play.
"He is a great leader and what he does is give us that forward carry, that forward momentum we really missed against the Hurricanes," said Blackadder.
The Crusaders coach is also hopeful that fullback Dagg would have recovered from his ankle strain as well, but warned that no matter who plays this weekend the team will have to seriously turn things around if they are to secure victory over a tough Chiefs outfit.
"We have got to get some rhythm and flow back into our game because last night was just one disjointed affair," he said.