THE Dragons will be boosted by the return of Wales lock Ben Carter and flanker Ryan Woodman for Saturday’s United Rugby Championship derby against the Ospreys.

The Rodney Parade club head to Swansea (kick-off 3pm) to try and scupper the play-off hopes of Toby Booth’s men, who need to win to stand a chance of the top eight.

Meanwhile, the Dragons are involved in a scrap to avoid propping up the table with Zebre, who are a point back on them, and the Scarlets, who are a point ahead.

Their fellow strugglers clash in Parma on Friday evening.

The Dragons are underdogs for the derby out west but their hopes are boosted by the returns of Carter and Woodman.

The 11-times capped lock has served his two-match suspension – Newport v Ebbw Vale and the Dragons v Stormers – after a red card for a dangerous tackle against Connacht.

The promising flanker, who can also cover in the second row, has been out of action since suffering a thumb injury against the Sharks in January but returns for the URC run-in and the World Rugby U20 Championship.

“They give us a bit of size and aerial presence,” said head coach Dai Flanagan. “They give us options.

South Wales Argus: BACK: Dragons forward Ryan Woodman is set to face the OspreysBACK: Dragons forward Ryan Woodman is set to face the Ospreys (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

“When Ryan got the injury we pinpointed these two games to get some experience in derbies and he will be playing at a fantastic stadium against Jac Morgan & Co.

“Then he will playing at Cardiff City Stadium against a Scarlets back row of Dan Davis, Taine Plumtree & Co, so these are two really good opportunities.

“Ben has had a disjointed year with injury but was looking really good in his last game before the red card. He is fully fit and ready to see the season out well.”

The Dragons fielded George Nott and Matthew Screech in the second row against the Stormers last weekend while Sean Lonsdale, Harri Keddie and Aaron Wainwright started in the back row with Taine Basham off the bench.

Flanagan’s men led in the final quarter of the clash with the South Africans before being blown away to lose 44-21.

South Wales Argus: RELIEF: Angus O'Brien's ankle injury is not seriousRELIEF: Angus O'Brien's ankle injury is not serious (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

The loss of Angus O’Brien played a part in that after the full-back/fly-half suffered an ankle injury on his first game back since a second arm injury of a frustrating campaign.

The 29-year-old is on crutches but has received good news.

“He has got away with one,” said Flanagan. "He will start pre-season fully fit when everyone feared the worst.

“He doesn’t need surgery, just a bit of time. It will be six to eight weeks after ligament damage, so I am really pleased for him because he had two unfortunate forearm breaks and he has been injured twice on his first game back.”

The loss of O’Brien does leave Will Reed as the only specialist fly-half in the squad with Cai Evans sidelined by a broken bone in his shin.

The Dragons name their team at midday on Friday.