ANTHONY ALLEN will return to Gloucester's midfield for their Guinness Premiership showdown against Wasps on Sunday.
The England centre has not featured since being withdrawn mid-way through Gloucester's Heineken Cup defeat against Munster last month with a shoulder injury.
Allen has so far made 27 appearances in all competitions this season and has scored six tries and he returns in a centre partnership with Mike Tindall that allows James Simpson-Daniel to switch back to the wing as head coach Dean Ryan names his line-up that will not include Lesley Vainikolo because of a hamstring strain.
That means Iain Balshaw continues on the other wing and Olly Morgan will make his first start at full-back since the defeat against Munster.
Ryan Lamb and Rory Lawson will start their fifth successive match together as half-back partners.
The forwards have a settled feel to them. Nick Wood will pack down at loose-head alongside hooker Andy Titterrell, who will start his seventh successive game, and Carlos Nieto.
Marco Bortolami will skipper the side from the second row alongside Alex Brown. Alasdair Strokosch will wear six and form a back row alongside Akapusi Qera, who scored a hat-trick in Gloucester's victory over Leeds, and number eight Luke Narraway.
"We are very aware of what Sunday represents in terms of the challenge we face and what we have to do to match it," said Gloucester's head coach Dean Ryan.
"It's about a physicality level we have experienced at the top end of Europe and we will be ready for that. Wasps are an outstanding side, well schooled in the arts of knockout rugby and that is what makes the challenge very exciting.
"But we need to concentrate and focus on our game and getting the maximum out of the threat we can create. If we can do that then I am positive we can stretch any team we come up against.
"We have given ourselves an opportunity towards the play-offs but nothing has been accomplished yet which is why this game means so much to us."
On the bench, Ryan has opted for a five-two forward split. Hooker Olivier Azam and prop Alasdair Dickinson are the front row options; Will James is the second row cover, while both Peter Buxton and Gareth Delve complete the forwards.
Scrum-half Gareth Cooper and Willie Walker - both starters against Leeds - are the three-quarter options.
GLOUCESTER (v Wasps, Sunday, 3pm): Olly Morgan; James Simpson-Daniel, Mike Tindall, Anthony Allen, Iain Balshaw; Ryan Lamb, Rory Lawson; Nick Wood, Andy Titterrell, Carlos Nieto, Marco Bortolami (capt), Alex Brown, Alasdair Strokosch, Akapusi Qera, Luke Narraway. Reps: Olivier Azam, Alasdair Dickinson, Will James, Peter Buxton, Gareth Delve, Gareth Cooper, Willie Walker.
Speaking after the game, Charlie Sharples described it as 'the win that has eluded us.' The winger stressed that Gloucester had stayed positive after the first couple of weeks of the Aviva Premiership season and the 26-13 victory over Sale was a result of that focus.
Gloucester Rugby picked up their first win of the new Aviva Premiership season on Friday night, easing to a 26-13 win on the road at Sale Sharks. Director of Rugby David Humphreys was full of praise for his players on the night.
Defence Coach Jonny Bell was on media duties ahead of the Aviva Premiership fixture at Sale Sharks on Friday evening, and spoke about where Gloucester find themselves in terms of their form at the moment as well as how he's viewing their defensive displays so far.
Callum Braley, who skippered Gloucester United to a 22-19 Aviva Premiership A League win over Saracens Storm on Monday evening, paid tribute to his forwards and the younger players in what he described as not the prettiest of wins.
Tickets for Saturday's Aviva Premiership game against Bath Rugby in both the Stowford Press Terrace and also The Shed are now in short supply, although a number of returns from the visitors have just gone back on sale.
A desperately disappointing afternoon for Gloucester who, despite dominating possession and territory, were guilty of failing to make the most of it against a resolute Newcastle defence before the visitors pounced to snatch the win in the second half.