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.
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
Speaking immediately after the game, skipper Willi Heinz thought that Gloucester had executed their game plan reasonably well and competed hard against Saracens. However, it wasn't enough but the squad will have plenty to work on this week ahead of the derby match against Bristol.
Gloucester may be coming off their best win of the season, the 38-16 victory over Wasps last weekend, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys admits that Sunday's trip to Saracens is an even tougher test.
Talk about a game of two halves. Things looked grim on Saturday as Gloucester trailed 0-6 to Bristol at half-time. However, Matt Scott's eighth try of the season got Gloucester off and running, and the visitors fell apart as the Cherry and Whites eased to a 26-18 bonus point Aviva Premiership win.