Cameron Redpath is likely to be high in the head coach’s thoughts as he returns from injury, having missed the Autumn Nations Series which concluded with a 29-20 win over Japan on Saturday.
However there are more players, new and established, who could come into consideration, the coach has admitted, but those who did compete against South Africa, Tonga, Australia and Japan at BT Murrayfield will also have a say with the coach also seeking consistency.
“There is a thread running through our teams, players who have been selected more regularly, but we’re going to cast our net more widely in the Six Nations, too, for guys who missed selection this time,” Townsend said.
“Guys like Sean Maitland and WP Nell, we’re very aware they can play at the highest level. This wasn’t a tournament where we needed to involve them and we wanted to look at other players.
“But if their form is consistent, as it has been this season, they’ll come into the mix for our strongest team.
“Scott Cummings came back against Japan and played really well, which was a bonus.”
Gray is likely to be back for Exeter Chiefs shortly and and Townsend had more positive news on Cameron Redpath and Fraser Brown.
"Cam is targeting the beginning of January, Fraser Brown is looking at being back in the next few weeks.