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The England centre has not featured since being withdrawn mid-way through Gloucester's Heineken Cup defeat against Munster last month with a shoulder injury.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.
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
Looking ahead to Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Harlequins (kick off 3pm), Head Coach Laurie Fisher told the local media that Gloucester will need to be on top of their game in a match which has big implications in terms of top six ambitions.
A big few days for the Gloucester-Hartpury Women side. First came the news that the team will compete in Women's Super Rugby next season, and on Saturday the team will play Worcester Ladies IIs at Kingsholm. Centre Hannah Jones and wing Michelle Ruddock spoke to GRTV this week to reflect on events.
In the aftermath of the Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell was able to look forward to this weekend's European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final against Cardiff Blues (Kingsholm, kick off 8:05pm).
Missing so many starters, and up against a team fighting for their Premiership existence, Gloucester did what had to be done at Ashton Gate on Friday evening battling their way to a 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol Rugby.