GLASGOW WARRIORS will be without two more international forwards for tomorrow’s United Rugby Championship clash against the Stormers due to injury, but the good news is that both second-row Richie Gray and tight-head prop Murphy Walker are expected to be fit again in time to be in the selection for next weekend’s visit to Perpignan in the Challenge Cup.

“Murphy pulled up with a spasm in his back last week and that evolved to him losing power in his right arm, so it is a bit of inflammation that has to go down but he is slowly and surely getting back,” explained head coach Franco Smith.

“He is not yet available for this week, but we are talking days [to get back fit]. He trained today but can't lift in the line-outs or scrummage at the moment.

“Richie had an ingrown hair that was removed but got infected leading to him developing a little bit of a fever, so we thought we will see him recover closer to Saturday but obviously there was a doubt,” he added. “Obviously he is important for us, now but also going forward, so we will make a final decision on Sunday morning but at this stage the team is as announced.”

Meanwhile, Smith confirmed that some of his long-term absentees in the pack – Zander Fagerson (hamstring), Scott Cummings (broken toe), Rory Darge (knee ligament damage) and Oli Kebble (shoulder) – are all progressing well, meaning they could feature for Scotland during the second half of the Six Nations.

They are each targeting mid-February returns, meaning they could well come into contention for the round three match away to France on 26th of the month.

Meanwhile, South African sunt Manjezi is also now side-lined with a knee injury picked up against Edinburgh last weekend and is not likely to feature for Glasgow again until the middle of next month.

Despite this extensive list of missing men, Warriors have been able to name a solid looking pack, which should be able to compete against the Stormers, with the biggest concern being a lack of dynamism in the second-row where new-faces Lewis Bean and JP du Preez provide bulk but perhaps not the all-court skill-sets of Gray and Manjezi.

It helps, of course, that Warriors are full of confidence at the moment having not lost at Scotstoun since last January, and not lost at all (home or away in any competition) in their last five outings.

“We have momentum, but this is a team that are the league champions and they have won eight, drawn one and lost just one of their nine games so far in the URC this season, plus they also have a lot of Springboks in their side so definitely they are a big challenge.” said Smith, who made it clear that he thinks soaring expectations are the biggest threat his in-form side faces at the moment.

“We don’t want to look back,” he continued. “We treat every game in the present and think about what we are going to do in the future. I don’t want us to burden ourselves with expectation because I think that’s the one thing that will limit our performances.

“You could see in the first half against Edinburgh last weekend because we were a little bit off it, and I put that down to the expectation of guys not wanting to disappoint.

“So, I’d rather that we did not talk about us maintaining a record at home. We have the Stormers in front of us and we, as a Glasgow team, still need to get better if we want to compete for this competition, so we’ve got to concentrate on that and not be distracted by trying to maintain records.”

Smith has made five changes in total to the team he sent out against Edinburgh last weekend. As well as the two enforced changes in the second-row, George Turner has switched in for Fraser Brown at hooker, George Horne returns at scrum-half in place of Ali Price, and Huw Jones gets the nod at inside-centre ahead of Stafford McDowall.

Youngsters Alex Samuel and Euan Ferrie will cover the second and back-rows of the scrum from the bench.

Smith added that he is heading through to Edinburgh this afternoon to watch his son, Franco Junior, playing for Zebre. “Edinburgh won’t like to see me for a third week in a row I suppose! But I’ll go there and enjoy watching him play,” he joked.

Glasgow Warriors (v Stromers at Scotstoun, Sunday 8th January, kick-off 3pm): O Smith: S Cancelliere, S Tuipulotu, H Jones, K Steyn (C); T Jordan, G Horne; J Bhatti, G Turner, L Sordoni, L Bean, J Du Preez, M Fagerson, S Vailanu, J Dempsey. Substitutes: F Brown, N McBeth, S Berghan, A Samuel, E Ferrie, C Neild, A Price, D Miotti.

Stormers: C Blommetjies; S Hartzenberg, D du Plessis, DWillemse, L Zas; M Libbok, P de Wet; S Kitshoff (C), J Deba, N Fouche, B Dixon, M Orie, D Fourie, W Engelbrecht, H Dayimani. Substitutes: J Kotze, B Harris, S Sandi, C Evans, J Pokomela, M Theunissen, I Khan, A Davids.