Unceremoniously dumped out of the European Rugby Champions Cup with last week's loss, the competition still goes on for Sale who travel down to Allianz Park for round 4 of their 'European' adventure. Here's three things to keep an eye on:
How are Nathan Hines' minutes managed upon his return?
The summer arrival from Clermont is in line to make his long-awaited return to action after having torn the bicep tendons in his arm only 8 minutes into his second game for Sale three months ago. With Michael Paterson now confirmed to be out for up to four months after surgery on his knee, Hines' return takes on added importance as an experienced and vocal member of the Sale pack. Saracens will be Hines' first game since September and Steve Diamond will be keen to see the 37 year-old come through the game unscathed ahead of next week's key Premiership clash against Exeter Chiefs; look for Hines to get around 50 minutes or so of action before being brought off.
Will Addison is also back (again)!
Seemingly his umpteenth injury comeback, Will Addison will also be making his first start for Sale since September, slotting in at Outside Centre alongside Mark Jennings. Has Addison finally put all his injury woes behind him and will we finally see him make good on the flashes of potential he has shown when healthy? Here's hoping; with Johnny Leota and possibly Mark Jennings ahead of him at his preferred position of Outside Centre, Addison needs to use these game-time opportunities to stake his claim for a first-team place.
Why is Joe Ford in Steve Diamond's doghouse?
I'm being honest when I say I've been less than enamoured with Joe Ford's few cameo appearances for Sale this season, yet in him we have a young, English, Fly-Half who is likely already the best goal-kicker at the club. Games which don't mean anything such as tomorrow's are perfect to give players like Ford opportunities and experience, especially at the top level of European rugby, yet Diamond has opted to play Nick Macleod at 10 instead. By now we know what the 31 year-old Macleod offers as a 10 and Ford is an intriguing albeit raw prospect for the club who could become particularly important to the team if a certain Danny Cipriani doesn't sign a new contract. I can't help but feel Diamond is wasting a perfectly good opportunity to give Ford 60 or so minutes with the first team but we will see what Ford does when he eventually comes off the bench tomorrow.
Prediction: Saracens 30 - 14 Sale Sharks - This was my prediction for last week's fixture at the AJ Bell and that proved to be way off in a surprisingly tight encounter. However with Saracens at home tomorrow and the fixture baring little significance on Sale's season now that they have already been eliminated, expect the result tomorrow to be much more one-sided than last Saturday's.