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The England centre has not featured since being withdrawn mid-way through Gloucester's Heineken Cup defeat against Munster last month with a shoulder injury.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 to the local media this week, Richard Hibbard expressed his excitement ahead of the West Country derby and that there is an extra spring in the step of the Cherry and Whites ahead of the tough challenge.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).