Roger Wilson says Connacht will be determined to earn overdue win over Ulster

Ulster's Roger Wilson tackles Connacht's Tom McCartney in a Pro12 meeting between the sides two years ago
Roger Wilson says Connacht will believe that a win over Ulster is long overdue
Pro12: Connacht v Ulster
Venue: The Sportsground, Galway Date: Friday, 7 October Kick-off: 19:35 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC TWO Northern Ireland and the BBC Sport website

Ulster number eight Roger Wilson believes Connacht will be determined to take another big Irish interprovincial scalp in Friday's Pro12 game in Galway.

Connacht have become accustomed to beating Leinster and Munster in recent seasons but have only earned one win over Ulster in 20 attempts.

That came in the 2012 Pro12 contest at the Sportsground.

"They probably haven't had the results that they would have expected against ourselves," Wilson told BBC Sport NI.

Ulster are hopeful that Iain Henderson will return from an elbow problem which ruled him out of last week's clash with the Ospreys, while Luke Marshall could also be back after suffering concussion against the Scarlets in mid-September.

After beating Leinster in last May's Pro12 final to round off a stunning 2015-16 campaign, Pat Lam's Connacht side got off to a dreadful start this season as home hammerings by Glasgow and the Ospreys were followed by a further 17-8 defeat by the Dragons.

It could have been even worse for the champions as they looked set for a shock defeat by Zebre in Italy on 17 September before torrential rain led to the abandonment of the game.

However, Connacht moved off the bottom of the table last weekend thanks to a 28-15 bonus-point win over fellow strugglers Edinburgh and Wilson expects Lam's squad to be fired up for Friday's contest against the Pro12 leaders.

Paul Marshall says champions Connacht will present Ulster with a physical test in Galway

"They can play their wide expansive game but if they need to tighten up in poor weather conditions they can do that as well as they have got a strong set-piece," added the 35-year-old, who won his only Ireland cap against Japan in 2005.

The general consensus is that the departures of lock Aly Muldowney to Grenoble and fly-half AJ MacGinty to Sale Sharks have seriously impacted on Lam's side with a number of last season's other stars also struggling to reproduce their best.

However, Wilson believes last weekend's victory will have lifted Connacht morale ahead of Friday's derby, when Ulster will be aiming to extend their early-season winning run to six straight games.

"We will need to be at our best without doubt. They will be targeting us."

If Wilson is selected again at number eight, his opposite number is likely to be Connacht's veteran talisman John Muldoon, a player the Ulster man has the height of respect for.

"He's a good bloke. A great talisman for them and leads the team really well so I'll be looking forward to playing against him."

There was no further news on Tuesday from Ulster on the apparent elbow infection which caused Iain Henderson to be a late withdrawal from Saturday's narrow win over the Ospreys.

It also remains to be seen whether Tommy Bowe could be handed a start after making his first appearance of the season following a long spell out because of injury when he came on as a second-half replacement last weekend.

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