The pressure is on us to win it
Tonga wing Fetu'u Vainikolo is set to return to the Connacht fray for Saturday's home clash with Newport Gwent Dragons in Round 13 of the Pro12.
The squad have been boosted with the recent return to fitness of centres Mata Fifita and Kyle Tonetti. Both will play for their respective clubs this weekend - Bucanneers RFC and Lansdowne RFC - and are expected to be available for selection as the province looks to the European Cup competition next week.
Miah Nikora is also set to return either this week or next week after suffering a minor groin injury in the lead up to the game against Munster.
There were a few knocks picked up during last Saturday's defeat to Leinster. Wing Matt Healy, who made his debut in Dublin, suffered a hand fracture and is expected to be out of action for three to four weeks.
Forward Johnny O'Connor also picked up an injury and his involvement this weekend is in doubt while Dave McSharry and Michael Swift suffered knocks at the RDS, but have both been given the 'all clear' and have returned to full training.
As the province head into a big month of games both in the Pro12 and European Cup competitions, head coach Eric Elwood said the first game of 2013 is an important home fixture for the team.
"This game against Dragons is a vitally important one for the club. We're side by side at the bottom of the table so this is a huge game for both teams. Obviously, with us at home, the pressure is on us to win it,” he said.
“The key thing is that we learn from the mistakes of the last two derby matches that we've had. And the main focus for us this weekend is about getting everything right ourselves to secure the win."
While Connacht achieved a double win over the men from Gwent last season, they were defeated 14-3 by the Dragons back in November.