McLaughlin's panel includes international pair, Simon Danielli and BJ Botha, who are back in contention after shoulder and wrist injuries respectively.
Centre Darren Cave remains absent due to a knee problem, but the recovering Jamie Smith (shoulder) is expected to see some game-time for the Ulster Ravens against Leinster 'A' at Donnybrook on Saturday (kick-off 1pm).
Prop Jerry Cronin and centre Luke Marshall, who earned their first caps in Ulster's most recent league outing against Munster, are pushing again for senior selection this weekend.
ULSTER Squad (v Cardiff Blues) - Backs (13): Adam D'Arcy, David McIlwaine, Tommy Seymour, Simon Danielli, Craig Gilroy, Luke Marshall, Jamie Smith, Nevin Spence, Ian Whitten, Ian Humphreys, Niall O'Connor, Paul Marshall, Ian Porter.
Forwards (14): Jerry Cronin, Paddy McAllister, Bryan Young, BJ Botha, Andi Kyriacou, Nigel Brady, Tim Barker, Ryan Caldwell, Dan Tuohy, Johann Muller, Willie Faloon, Robbie Diack, Pedrie Wannenburg, Chris Henry.