AS Edinburgh put the finishing touches to their preparations for the new campaign with tonight's friendly against Newcastle at BT Murrayfield, Jon Petrie, the club managing director, says he should have a firm idea by the end of the year as to whether this will be Alan Solomons' last season in charge.

"We have a coaching set-up for this year, it's pretty settled. We have continuity and consistency. Alan has to sit down with us, and look at what the future is. We are genuinely focused only on getting the season under way," he said.

"You get the first part of the year under your belt and then those discussions happen over the course of 2016, as would happen with a player. There are a number of discussions to have and Alan is very much a part of that, in terms of what he wants to do, as well."

The big problem, Petrie acknowledged, is going to be keeping players. He has nowhere near the budget of the big clubs in England and France and the likes of WP Nel, the tighthead prop, Grant Gilchrist, the co-captain and lock, or John Hardie, the flanker, are bound to attract interest.

"It is a tough market to operate in," he said. "Someone like Nel is one of the most dominant tight-heads in world rugby and is likely to be a candidate for the [British and Irish] Lions as well. I don’t doubt there is going to be interest in WP Nel.

"He is a guy who has been playing for Edinburgh for the last few years, his family is very settled here and he loves playing at the club. We will get to conversations with him over a new deal. Hopefully we will be able to keep him but we will have to see how these negotiations go."

The game tonight sees most of those big-name players back in the starting side as Solomons looks to get them match fit for next week's Guinness PRO12 starts do could throw up an intriguing forward battle if the likes of Scott Lawson and Jon Welsh, both Scotland caps, are pitted against them by the visitors.

Strangely there is also a new-look second row with Fraser McKenzie and Gilchrist set to start together for the first time despite both being long-term servants of the club. Both have been injured and are making their returns – in McKenzie's case a slipped disc in his neck that needed surgery.

Edinburgh: G Bryce; T Brown, S Tofilau, P Burleigh, R Scholes; D Weir, S Hidalgo-Clyne; R Sutherland, R Ford, WP Nel, F McKenzie, G Gilchrist, J Ritchie, H Watson, M Bradbury. Replacements: S McInally, J Cosgrove, S Berghan, B Toolis, J Hardie, N Fowles, B Kinghorn, C Dean, G Turner, L Carmichael, V Fihaki, S Rasolea.