MARCO BORTOLAMI will return to the second row for Gloucester's Heineken Cup clash against the Ospreys tomorrow after injury ruled out Alex Brown (8pm).
Brown will miss the clash against the Ospreys because of a shoulder injury picked up at Ravenhill and Bortolami will return for only his second start of the season.
"Alex is a fantastic player and I think any team would miss an operator of his quality in the line-out and around the field," said head coach Dean Ryan. "But we have said all along the squad is strong enough to sustain three or four injuries and not be any weaker and to have an international captain returning from the bench is great for us.
"Marco is a natural leader, an inspirational type of guy and he played very well against Ulster last weekend when we were closing the game out."
Will James comes in on the bench in the only other change to Dean Ryan's squad as they look to build on their 32-14 victory in Belfast in front of what is expected to be a 16,500 sell-out tomorrow.
"This week will be an enormous challenge," Ryan added. "They have some great players and the group will be alive well beyond Friday. We'll deal with this game and then see where we are but we need 16,000 people screaming us on because games are won and lost on small margins.
"We'll need a bit of luck and we'll need to play well - we cannot just throw flair at a game like this. We need to understand what they are trying to do and be intense about what we do. My experience is that every minute matters in this competition. The moment you lose track you risk a result that knocks you out.
"The Ospreys are a totally different proposition to Ulster and they have great try-scoring ability - it will be a real fire-cracker of a game and something we are very much looking forward to."
Gloucester's backline remains intact once again and means that Rory Lawson and man of the match Ryan Lamb will start at half-back. Mike Tindall and Anthony Allen form their centre partnership - it will be Allen's 10th successive appearance of the season.
James Simpson-Daniel, Gloucester's leading Heineken Cup try-scorer with 15, is in a back three alongside Iain Balshaw and Lesley Vainikolo, who scored his debut last Friday.
Up front, Nick Wood, Olivier Azam and Carlos Nieto start in the front row. Peter Buxton will retain the captaincy despite the fact Bortolami is back in the second row.
Alasdair Strokosch will continue to wear the number six shirt with Akapusi Qera, the Fijian international, at openside and Luke Narraway at number eight.
The bench also remains the same - a hamstring injury ruling out Gareth Cooper. The forward replacements are Andy Titterrell, Christian Califano, Will James and Gareth Delve.
Mike Prendergast, Chris Paterson and Olly Morgan at the three-quarter options.
GLOUCESTER (v Ospreys, tomorrow 8pm): Iain Balshaw; James Simpson-Daniel, Mike Tindall, Anthony Allen, Lesley Vainikolo, Ryan Lamb, Rory Lawson; Nick Wood, Olivier Azam, Carlos Nieto, Peter Buxton (capt), Marco Bortolami, Alasdair Strokosch, Akapusi Qera, Luke Narraway. Reps: Andy Titterrell, Christian Califano, Will James, Gareth Delve, Mike Prendergast, Chris Paterson, Olly Morgan.
Northampton away was the first Gloucester game under David Humphreys last season, but the Director of Rugby told the local media that the Cherry and Whites are a different proposition compared to 12 months ago and are looking forward to the challenge.
Having skippered Gloucester against the Barbarians last week, Nick Wood once again wore the captain's armband on Monday evening as Gloucester United kicked off their Aviva Premiership A League campaign with a bonus point win at Leicester.
Gloucester recorded a 32-20 win over La Rochelle on Thursday evening, and second row Jeremy Thrush was thrilled to pick up the victory on his first taste of a trip to France and the hostile atmosphere.
Gloucester were forced to battle for their 33-20 victory in La Rochelle on Thursday evening, something that centre Bill Meakes said that he and the squad were well prepared for as well as thanking the travelling support for the part they played.
Gloucester got off to a winning start in the European Rugby Challenge Cup last weekend, but Head Coach Laurie Fisher is expecting a much tougher challenge when the Cherry and Whites travel to La Rochelle for Thursday night's Round Two encounter.
Dan Thomas was a try scorer in the 14-62 defeat at the hands of the Barbarians on Tuesday evening, but told GRTV after the game that he'd really enjoyed taking on the Barbarians and locking horns with Ardie Savea at the breakdown.
After a long, hard battle to return to fitness, Henry Trinder made his long awaited comeback in the second half of the 23-10 win over Zebre on Saturday and admitted he was taken aback by the reception he got from the Kingsholm crowd.
After missing out on Gloucester's two recent European fixtures, Jonny May is back on the left wing for Friday evening's Aviva Premiership fixture at Northampton, while Mariano Galarza is named in the matchday squad for the first time this season.