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.
Speaking straight after the game, skipper Billy Twelvetrees told GRTV that losing at home to Bath, in front of a tremendous home support, was desperately disappointing and that the whole team were hurting in the dressing room.
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.
On a tough evening at Kingsholm, Gloucester could escape neither a suffocating Bath defence, nor the whistle of referee Greg Garner as six penalties and a penalty try paved the way to a 39-16 win for the visitors.