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.
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.
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.
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).