Gloucester Rugby confirmed on Thursday morning that openside flanker Andy Hazell has been ruled out until the New Year through injury but that several of his team mates are set to return.
Hazell suffered a severe hamstring injury during Gloucester's Guinness Premiership match against Sale Sharks on Friday 30th October.
Following subsequent scans and specialist opinion, it has been determined that no surgery is required, though Hazell faces a rehab period of up to 12 weeks.
Meanwhile, three Gloucester players who have been missing from 1st XV action following varying degrees of longer-term injuries are nearing full fitness and will be available to Head Coach Bryan Redpath either this week or next.
Prop Nick Wood who injured a foot at London Irish on the second weekend of the season, flanker Peter Buxton and fullback Olly Morgan who have both been restricted to just three appearances so far this season are all back in the frame.
Finally, flanker Apo Satala has been called up to the Fiji squad for the Bank of Scotland Corporate Autumn Test at Murrayfield against Scotland on Saturday.
Satala is cover for Worcester back row Netani Talei who is injured.
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).