Bath will welcome fans back to the Recreation Ground on Tuesday as they target another major step towards the Gallagher Premiership play-offs.

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Victory over Gloucester would take Bath second in the table behind runaway leaders Exeter.

Their final league game is away to Saracens on Sunday week, with play-off rivals Wasps, Sale Sharks and Bristol all having two matches left.

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The west country derby will see 1,000 fans attend in a third crowd pilot Premiership fixture, after matches at Harlequins and Gloucester earlier this month.

“For us, it is a great opportunity now because we have worked hard and put ourselves in a position for it to be a good opportunity,” Bath rugby director Stuart Hooper said.

“If we had won only two games from the seven (since the Premiership restarted last month) then it wouldn’t be, so it is a real opportunity for us, but it is because we have created it.

“It has been good for the lads to have a good couple of days off before we have regrouped and prepared to get going again.

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“They have been flat out and giving us absolutely everything.”

Bath were beaten 29-15 by Gloucester when the clubs last met eight months ago, but Hooper added: “We have developed a fair bit since then.

“They performed well in that game. Take nothing away from them, they deserved the victory and I think that we were pretty off that day.

“It is a new fixture, it’s another opportunity and we won’t be dwelling on what happened in the past.”

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Bath underlined their play-off credentials with an impressive win at Sale last time out.

Hooper has made four changes from that game, calling up full-back Anthony Watson, wing Semesa Rokoduguni, lock Elliott Stooke and flanker Tom Ellis.

And there is a return on the replacements’ bench for England wing Joe Cokanasiga, who has not played since last autumn’s Rugby World Cup due to a knee injury.

Eighth-placed Gloucester have replaced Danny Cipriani at fly-half with Lloyd Evans, while England scrum-half Willi Heinz makes a return from injury and features for the first time since Premiership rugby resumed on August 14.

Elsewhere, Matt Banahan lines up against his former club, Billy Twelvetrees returns in midfield and lock Matias Alemanno is handed a full debut.

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