Sale director of rugby Philippe Saint-Andre believes their clash with Worcester is pivotal to the teams’ Guinness Premiership seasons.
The Manchester club, who have not registered an away league victory since October 2006, need a win to keep them in the chasing pack for a top-four finish.
Worcester’s concerns are more perilous with a solitary Premiership triumph leaving them rooted to the foot of the table.
"It’s a game that both sides need to win," said Saint-Andre
"Worcester need the points to kickstart their Premiership campaign and we need the points if we are to keep in touch with the play-offs.
"If we want to finish in the top four in the Guinness Premiership we need to win away.
"It is a long, long time – nearly one year – since we won away."
The debut of Luke McAlister has added an extra dimension to the match for Sale fans eager to see the All Black sensation, who arrived at Edgeley Park last week.
At 24, the Sharks have signed a player whose best years lie ahead and Saint-Andre had no fear in handing him the number 13 jersey against Worcester.
"Luke has trained with us all week and is looking good, so I have decided to go with him," he said.
Former Wales Under-21 centre Lee Thomas gets the nod for the number 12 jersey – Charlie Hodgson is restored at fly-half – while England prop Andrew Sheridan resumes at loosehead.
France talisman Sebastien Chabal returns to the back row following the club’s successful interlude for European Challenge Cup action.
Worcester’s Dale Rasmussen is restored to outside centre after being rested for the two European Challenge Cup victories against Bucuresti and Montauban.
But Loki Crichton misses out with a calf injury so Mark Tucker joins Rasmussen in the midfield.