JAMES SIMPSON-DANIEL will wing his way back into action for Gloucester tomorrow - wary of the threat posed by Northampton's strike-runners (Kingsholm, 2.45pm).
The England wing has missed Gloucester's opening three matches of the season so far because of an ankle injury but returns for their Sky TV date with the Saints aiming to rediscover the form that marks him down as one of the most dangerous game-breakers in the country.
Gloucester are unbeaten in their first three Guinness Premiership matches of the season and will hope to strengthen their charge tomorrow - despite being without tighthead prop Phil Vickery because of a shoulder injury.
He damaged his AC Joint against Bristol last weekend and head coach Dean Ryan said: "He was very close to selection but we decided it was best not to risk him."
It means Ryan has been forced into naming his third match captain of the season for the visit of the Saints. Mike Tindall will take over the armband after injuries to both Vickery and Adam Balding.
But Simpson-Daniel, who has not featured since the pre-season victory over Calvisano, is solely concerned with the potential threat of the Saints: "We face a huge challenge this weekend because Northampton have some very dangerous strike runners.
"They can really mix it up and we certainly don't want to get burnt by them. They have had a bit of an unpredictable start to the season but pose a real threat.
"I am just glad to be back and in the team. It has been a very frustrating time for me and I have been disappointed not to be involved but hopefully the injury is behind me and I can just get on with the season.
"It's a huge challenge for me and the team this weekend and we must rise to it."
In Vickery's absence, Gary Powell will make his first start of the season alongside Olivier Azam, who comes in for Mefin Davies, and Patrice Collazo in the front row.
In the back row, Jake Boer gets a start in the openside position in place of Andy Hazell, who takes a turn on the bench as part of the rotational policy.
There are also two changes in the backs. Peter Richards will make his second start of the campaign at scrum-half in place of Haydn Thomas and because of Simpson-Daniel's return, Rob Thirlby moves to full-back with Jon Goodridge dropping down to the bench.
There are still tickets available for tomorrow's encounter and they are available from www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk, the ticket office, which is open until 3.30 on Friday and is open on Saturday at 10am. The ticket hotline number is 0871 871 8781.
GLOUCESTER v (Northampton, Guinness Premiership, Saturday, Kingsholm 2.45): Rob Thirlby; Mark Foster, Mike Tindall (capt), Henry Paul, James Simpson-Daniel; Ludovic Mercier, Peter Richards; Patrice Collazo, Olivier Azam, Gary Powell, Adam Eustace, Alex Brown, Peter Buxton, Jake Boer, James Forrester. Reps: Terry Sigley, Mefin Davies, Mark Cornwell, Andy Hazell, Haydn Thomas, Brad Davies, Jon Goodridge.
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.
Gloucester centre Billy Twelvetrees praised his side's character after their comeback win against Bristol on Saturday. The Cherry and Whites overcame a 6-0 half time deficit to eventually win the game 26-18 and secure a bonus point victory.
Looking to try a new sport? Look no further than Walking Rugby as thanks to Gloucester Rugby you can come along and try out the fast-growing sport at taster sessions across the county, starting this Wednesday.
Gloucester return to European Rugby Challenge Cup action on Thursday evening with the visit of Stade Rochelais to Kingsholm (kick off 7:45pm). Early Bird ticket prices are available until 6:30pm on matchday.