HENRY Trinder is set to be rested against Saracens – opening the door for Freddie Burns to return to the Gloucester starting-line-up.
The in-form centre has been struggling with a groin injury which the Cherry and Whites are continuing to assess.
But he is likely to be left out of Saturday’s Premiership encounter, with two key Heineken Cup clashes, against Munster and Perpignan, looming on the horizon.
Trinder’s absence will see Burns return to the fly-half jersey, following two weeks on the bench, with Billy Twelvetrees moving across to inside centre.
Nigel Davies said: “Henry is having an ongoing problem with his groin and we’re monitoring that. He will probably need a rest sooner rather than later to let that calm down.”
Saracens will arrive at Kingsholm in a rich vein of form, targeting a TENTH straight victory in all competitions.
Davies expects a full-blooded encounter but has urged his side to build on their festive double.
He said: “It was a big couple of weeks for us over the Christmas period and we definitely needed two wins. Both games were difficult and we had to be very pragmatic in how we approached them in terms of selection and how we played.
“We deserved to win both matches. There’s still a lot that we can improve on but from where we were we did the right thing and we can now build from those performances.
“Saracens are playing extremely well and bring a different challenge to the last two games.
“They are extremely physical, very committed and accurate in what they do.
“They look to pressurise teams and it’s a really big challenge for us but a good one.
“They play a very structured game and do it very well. Worcester played into their hands – you have to be very mindful you don’t play into the pressure they create.
“We’re expecting a very heavy pitch and conditions will dictate a lot. It could be a very brutal encounter.”
Burns’ expected return comes despite ongoing speculation over his future and an impending move to Leicester Tigers.
Davies claims there have been no further developments but admits planning for unspecific positions is ongoing.
Gloucester have been linked to a host of potential suitors for the number 10 jersey, including Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland and New Zealander Stephen Brett.
Davies added: “Obviously I know Rhys very well. He came through the Scarlets system with me and is a very good player but we need to be mindful of what’s available in every position.
“There’s a lot that goes on, recruitment is a huge part of the game these days and it’s just as important as what happens on the field.
“We have a vast database on players and knowledge of all players in Europe and the southern hemisphere. It’s important we maintain that knowledge of the players available.
“You’re probably looking at six or seven players in any one position at any one time and when it becomes more in the line of fire you escalate above that.
“There are certain names everyone will know and recognise and others that are under the radar. We are in contact with players.”