Glasgow Warriors have been handed a boost ahead of the United Rugby Championship (URC) run-in with injuries suffered by Johnny Matthews and Oli Kebble not believed to be as serious as first feared.

Both players picked up ankle injuries during Friday night’s victory over the Sharks at Scotstoun and they looked serious at the time, although Franco Smith did look to play them down in his post-match press conference.

And now assistant coach Nigel Carolan has revealed they could be back in time for the trip to South Africa next month providing nothing unexpected shows up in their scans.

Glasgow will travel to face the Lions and the Bulls next month after taking on Zebre this weekend before a week off because of the Champions Cup semi-finals.

Scotland co-captain Rory Darge is also set to return to training this week, while Jamie Bhatti is also back involved after the foot injury he suffered in a freak accident in the gym, but it could be too soon for him to play against Zebre. 

Scotland Rugby News: Jamie Bhatti

Alex Samuel is another who has been absent in the last couple of games after he suffered a neck injury in training. However, that is also not considered a serious issue.

When asked about Matthews and Kebble, Carolan said: “It’s more positive. Both are getting scanned today [Monday] 

“Over the weekend the medics touched base with them and they’re feeling much better than first feared. 

"They’ll be off feet for the early parts of this week but I don’t think it will be anything long-term unless something nasty shows up on a scan but both are feeling much better than what it first looked like on Friday night.

“Both are in line for that [South Africa trip] at the moment.”

Glasgow are still in contention to finish top of the URC table if they can win their last four matches of the season, with Leinster having suffered a shock defeat against the Lions at the weekend.

It was a surprise loss for a much-changed Leinster squad, and Carolan admits things are getting tight at the top.

Finishing top of the table would see Glasgow have a home quarter-final, semi-final and final should they make it all the way.

However, Carolan insists the focus is purely on the next game and making sure they get enough wins to finish in the top four – and there’s certainly no thoughts of a potential play-off clash with Edinburgh.

"If we keep winning we hope to get a home quarter-final.

"Who we get we don’t really mind. Edinburgh adds to the occasion but it could be any number of eight teams vying for position, it’s very tight. The next few weeks are going to be very interesting, it could go down to the last weekend.

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“We won’t be preparing for a home quarter-final until we know we’re in it and we’ve looked after our side of the bargain so it means keep winning.

"If we keep winning we can finish as high in the table and it will give us a home quarter-final and hopefully a home semi-final if we get through that.

“Someone once said when you get to win championships you need momentum and a full deck. We have a little bit of momentum at the moment and it’s important we carry that through for the next couple of games. We had a good win against the Sharks at the weekend, they’re a tough gritty team.

“We’ve got to kick on with the way other results went as well with Leinster getting beat by Lions and Munster beating Bulls it’s levelled things out at the top of the table so there’s a real hunt on from third to 11th. Things are getting tight and to get a home quarter-final."

Carolan admitted that starts with a trip to Parma on Friday. 

He added: "If we can bring a positive version of our game it’ll create opportunities to score and being ruthless with those chances is certainly going to be our focus.

“Leinster have another sticky one down at Stormers but it’s Leinster. People would have said their second team is the second best team in the league so it’s unusual they find themselves on the back of such a loss but I know they’ll be looking to bounce back from that.”

Zebre currently sit bottom of the table, but there’s no chance Glasgow will be taking the Italian side lightly.

Carolan continued: “We take it one at a time and it’s Zebre this weekend. They’re bottom of the log and that has it’s dangers as well.

"If we don’t go with the right mindset then they have the ability to make the game quite messy so for us, it’s about standards and focusing on our game and bringing a version of our game that doesn’t get caught up in that messiness so that’s very much our focus.

Scotland Rugby News: Nigel Carolan

“In the last few weeks we’ve had a mindset for South Africa and building on certain breathing techniques post-training that are aiding our ability to catch our breath and recover quicker because be it a myth or not the altitude and the perception of the thinning air have an effect on your lungs so we’re trying to negate that.

“We’ll travel down there with a mindset that it won’t be a problem.

"We know we’re fit and we’ve worked on recover strategies so it’s about focusing on getting the type of game where we’ll ask good questions of the Bulls when we get down there in a couple of weeks.”