Sale v Bath, Aviva Premiership, February 11
Sale host in-form Bath
ESPNscrum Staff
February 8, 2011
Sale's Nick Macleod stretches the Newcastle defence, Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks, Aviva Premiership, Kingston Park, Newcastle, England, January 7, 2011
Sale's Nick Macleod carries the ball forward during their draw with Newcastle © Getty Images
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Sale Sharks are out to keep their mini-revival alive on Friday night when they entertain Bath at Edgeley Park.

After a win over Saracens and draw with basement rivals Newcastle, Pete Anglesea's men will be tested by a Bath side that has snapped out of a funk with hard-fought victories in their last two league outings and a run of five wins out of six in all competitions.

With games in hand on some of their rivals for a top four spot there is plenty to play for for the visitors and coach Steve Meehan will demand everything from a squad that has not been damaged too significantly by international call-ups.

Sale - Player to Watch: Charlie Hodgson has been released from the England squad and the fly-half will again be pivotal to Sale's effort.

Sale - Team News: James Gaskell and Henry Thomas are also back in action after representative duty, while former Bath winger Rhys Crane gets a start against his old club.

Bath - Player to Watch: Skipper Luke Watson takes the openside jersey in the continued absence of Lewis Moody, giving the visitors a little extra in the ball-carrying department.

Bath - Team News: Jack Cuthbert starts at fullback after spending the week with the Scotland squad, while Butch James and Michael Claassens are paired at halfback in a strong side. Simon Taylor is called in at No.8 while former Sharks Duncan Bell and Ignacio Fernandez-Lobbe make the 22.

Key Battle: Sale's backline looks a little light without skipper Mark Cueto, while Bath have not far off their first-choice three-quarters on display. Both sides will want to take their chances, but the visitors appear to have the edge in the build-up.

Trivia: Bath centre Olly Barkley needs two points to register his century for this season.

Stats: The Sharks have won only one of their last eight meetings against Bath, 23-16 in 2009.

Quote Unquote:

"We have addressed the way we played at Saracens and we are looking to return to the way we were playing at the start of the year."
- Sale coach Pete Anglesea.

"Sale are a good side, who play consistently well at home. If we haven't got our top game we won't win - it's that simple. We know we will be facing a strong opposition and will have to play a strong and disciplined game to match that."
- Bath director of rugby Ian McGeechan.

Fantasy: There have been few more impressive young players than Sale's James Gaskell this season, worth a look in your team for the ESPNscrum's Fantasy Rugby Game team?

Prediction: Sale are a good side at home but Bath can sense a turnarond in fortunes and have a strong side out. Away win.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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