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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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|Friday 13th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Gloucester|
|19:45||Northampton vs London Irish|
|Saturday 14th February|
|16:30||Exeter vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 15th February|
|13:00||Saracens vs Bath|
|14:00||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Sale|
|Friday 20th February|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Wasps|
|Saturday 21st February|
|14:00||Sale vs Saracens|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Bath vs Northampton|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|14:00||London Irish vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Sale|
|19:45||Northampton vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Newcastle|
|15:15||Exeter vs Bath|
|Sunday 1st March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Gloucester|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester|
|Bath 39 - 26 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 7 Northampton|
|Friday 9th January|
|Gloucester 24 - 23 Saracens|
|Sunday 4th January|
|London Welsh 13 - 24 Harlequins|
|Wasps 41 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Leicester 17 - 8 Bath|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|Exeter 25 - 26 Gloucester|
|Saracens 22 - 6 London Irish|
|Friday 2nd January|
|Northampton 39 - 31 Newcastle|
|Sunday 28th December|
|Gloucester 23 - 30 Wasps|
|Saturday 27th December|
|Harlequins 25 - 30 Northampton|
|Newcastle 23 - 25 Saracens|
|Bath 31 - 14 Exeter|
|Sale Sharks 30 - 32 Leicester|
|Friday 26th December|
|London Irish 24 - 9 London Welsh|
|Sunday 21st December|
|Wasps 48 - 16 London Irish|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Gloucester 16 - 39 Bath|
|Northampton 23 - 19 Leicester|
|Saracens 78 - 7 London Welsh|
|Harlequins 15 - 7 Newcastle|
|Friday 19th December|
|Sale 18 - 11 Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com