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Aviva Premiership: Sale Sharks entertain Saracens in Friday night clash
It is always important to respond, and we always say that it's a sign of a good team when they respond from defeat.
Saracens' David Strettle
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Saracens travel to Sale Sharks aiming to climb back to the top of the Aviva Premiership after being knocked off top spot by Northampton last weekend.
The hosts will be looking to follow up their 24-19 victory over Gloucester and inflict successive defeats on Saracens at the AJ Bell Stadium.
The long-time league leaders head into the clash following a surprise home defeat at the hands of London Irish last time out.
Saints took advantage of that slip-up by edging past Exeter to claim pole position, although it will be a short-lived stay if Saracens topple Sale on Friday night.
"We are looking to respond," Saracens' England international wing David Strettle said.
"It is always important to respond, and we always say that it's a sign of a good team when they respond from defeat."
Saracens are buoyed by the return of several England players from Six Nations duty.
The list includes full-back Alex Goode, centre Brad Barritt and prop Mako Vunipola, while half-backs Charlie Hodgson and Richard Wigglesworth will start against their former club.
Meanwhile, Sale boss Steve Diamond feels his side are capable of beating their opponents on home soil; a victory would take them into a play-off position.
They have won three of their last four Premiership fixtures and are unbeaten for six games in all competitions at home - a run that stretches back to November.
"As a squad, we are in a different position now, compared to last year, and the team has got a real belief about it," Diamond told the club's official website.
"We didn't play as well as we could on Friday (against Gloucester), but we got the result, and the icing on the cake was getting the bonus point.
"Friday's game is a huge game for us.
Sale boss Steve Diamond has made three changes - all up front - from the side that accounted for Gloucester last time out.
Prop Eifion Lewis-Roberts replaces Ross Harrison, while hooker Marc Jones starts instead of Tommy Taylor and lock Andrei Ostrikov takes over from Jonathan Mills.
Harrison, Taylor and Mills are all on bench duty, along with England prop Henry Thomas.
Sale: 15 Miller, 14 Brady, 13 Leota, 12 uitupou, 11 Cueto, 10 Cipriani, 9 Peel; 1 Lewis-Roberts, 2 Jones, 3 Cobilas, 4 Ostrikov, 5 Paterson, 6 Braid, 7 Seymour, 8 Gaskell.
Replacements: 16 Taylor, 17 Harrison, 18 Thomas, 19 Mills, 20 Easter, 21 Cliff, 22 Macleod, 23 Arscott.
Saracens: 15 Goode, 14 Ashton, 13 Taylor, 12 Barritt, 11 Strettle, 10 Hodgson, 9 Wigglesworth; 1 Vunipola, 2 George, 3 Stevens, 4 Borthwick, 5 Kruis, 6 Brown, 7 Burger, 8 Wray.
Replacements: 16 Brits, 17 Barrington, 18 Johnston, 19 Botha, 20 Joubert, 21 De Kock, 22 Tomkins, 23 Wyles.
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Aviva Premiership Table
|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com