Newcastle Falcons head coach Alan Tait says the return of captain James Hudson after suspension will be a welcome boost to the Premiership's bottom club.
Hudson missed the Premiership defeats by Saracens and Northampton, but is available for selection in Friday's visit of fellow strugglers Worcester.
"James is a massive part of our line-out," Tait told BBC Newcastle.
"The team hasn't coped without James, he'll bring steadiness to the line-out and the go-forward ball we need."
The 29-year-old lock, who was handed a four-week ban for an adjudged dangerous tackle in September's loss by former club London Irish, is among a string of players missed by Falcons.
Samoa flanker Taisina Tui'fua has yet to feature following his World Cup exploits, while injuries to other senior players have depleted Tait's options.
The Falcons boss added: "We've got enough players coming back, Jonny Golding, Rob Vickers, we don't make excuses but they'll make a difference when they return."
Friday's game pitches the Falcons against Worcester, who despite recording two wins from seven, are just three points and one place above Tait's side.
Of the teams in the bottom four, Leicester lost 12 players and Northampton had eight call-ups at the World Cup in New Zealand, and subsequently their weakened squads made slow starts.
However with the Premiership clubs now back to full strength, and with convicing wins from both sides this weekend, there is pressure on Newcastle to keep up with their rivals at the wrong end of the table.
"No doubt about it we've got to win next week to keep in that group that is sort of getting away," Tait said.
"We know that Northampton and Leicester will kick on now, so we've got to keep on Worcester's tail."