Stephen Ferris doubtful for season opener against Glasgow
Stephen Ferris rates himself as a major doubt for Ulster's opening Pro12 game against Glasgow on Friday 31 August.
The flanker is recovering from a torn calf muscle sustained in the Heineken Cup final defeat by Leinster in May.
"I'm not sure if I'll make the first game but I should be available for the second or third matches of the new season," said Ferris.
Tommy Bowe is set to be fit to make his return for Ulster after making a good recovery from a haematoma problem.
"The addition of the likes of Tommy (Bowe) and Roger Wilson has added a bit of extra excitement to the pre-season," commented Ferris, whose first impressions of new coach Mark Anscombe are favourable.
"Mark has his own coaching ways and everyone has bought into what he is trying to do.
"He hasn't changed an awful lot, just added his knowledge with the aim of making us better and helping us improve."
Hooker Rory Best added that he senses "exciting times ahead" for Ulster.
"We want to build on our performances of last season and, on paper, we look like a stronger team than last season.
"A lot of the players coming in are familiar with the Ulster set-up from previous spells with the province, so it won't require a major integration process.
"Friday nights at Ravenhill may bring a smile to their faces, but it won't come as a major shock to them."
"We must make sure we make progress in every game and every training session," said the Ireland hooker.