Former Prince Henry's Grammar School pupil Danny Care will return to training with England tomorrow following ankle trouble, according to head coach Stuart Lancaster.
Scrum half Care limped out of Harlequins’ 16-13 Heineken Cup defeat to Clermont Auvergne at The Stoop on January 11.
Livewire half-back Care’s fitness will boost England’s RBS Six Nations title challenge, with Stuart Lancaster’s squad ravaged by injuries.
England start their Six Nations campaign with a trip to face France in Paris a week on Saturday.
Lancaster believes backline trio Ben Foden, Marland Yarde and Manu Tuilagi are less likely to find fitness during the Six Nations.
“Danny Care’s hopefully going to train tomorrow,” said Lancaster.
“Other than that we actually came through the European week pretty well.
“We gave Dan Cole a rest because of a sore neck but he’s fine. Ben Foden and Marland Yarde are making good progress and they should be February-time in terms of a return to club rugby, but we don’t know beyond that yet.
“Manu’s making good progress but depending on where Leicester see him, we’ll make sure he’s right.”
Tuilagi, Jonathan Joseph and Gloucester’s Henry Trinder are all natural outside centres missing through injury.
Add in Joel Tomkins to the list of absentees and Lancaster said he must be more fluid with his centre selection than in the past.
That raises the prospect of Lancaster not selecting outright inside and outside centres, asking his Six Nations pairing to mix and match the duties across the partnership.
“It’s great to have Brad Barritt back there and he has trained for the first time with us since March last year,” said Lancaster, of Saracen Barritt’s return after long-term foot trouble.
“We’ve got some decisions to make in the centres, but we are pleased with Kyle Eastmond, Billy Twelvetrees, Luther Burrell and Brad.
“The good thing about Luther is he came to Argentina, he was involved in the QBEs even though he didn’t play.
“That concept of inside, outside centre is a slightly outdated one for modern rugby.
“You need one guy to get you across the gain-line and one to act as a playmaker.”