JAKE BOER, Gloucester's South African back row forward, will make his return from a knee injury in Monday's Guinness A League fixture against Bath.
He has been out of action since the middle of August after suffering a set-back in his bid to recover from medial ligament damage picked up against Bath in the Premiership last season.
But he returned to full training this week and is expected to be included when Gloucester start their campaign with another west country derby on Monday night.
Although the team has yet to be confirmed, it is likely to include lock Adam Eustace, hooker Rob Elloway and flanker James Merriman as Gloucester aim to continue their excellent run in the competition.
"Potentially, we have an outstanding squad of players to select from and we obviously want to try and continue our success of recent seasons," said assistant Academy manager Mark Cornwell.
"With the calibre of players we have available for selection, we obviously believe we can do well in this competition.
"It is always a fantastic opportunity when you play Bath and we will be looking to get off to a really good start."
Gloucester start their home matches in the Guinness A League on Monday, September 25 against Saracens at 7.30pm.
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).