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Tigers look to build on Irish win

Leicester are hoping to climb back into the Aviva Premiership play-off places when they face Gloucester on Friday night.

A 20-11 victory over London Irish last Saturday ended a two-match losing league run against Wasps and Harlequins and director of rugby Richard Cockerill believes sixth-placed Leicester have steadied the ship.

"We battled through the game against London Irish to take the points, though we can play a lot better," Cockerill said.

"We needed that win after a couple of disappointing results, but the squad will be better for it and we know we need to push on from here."

Leicester do have injury problems though with centre Matt Smith, who is struggling with a hamstring problem, the latest player to be added to a list of casualties that already includes Manu Tuilagi, Anthony Allen and Geoff Parling.

Adam Thompstone joins Dan Bowden in the centres in Smith's absence, while England prop Dan Cole starts at tighthead after being named on the bench against the Exiles.

Argentina prop Marcos Ayerza returns from international duty to pack down at loosehead.

Gloucester's situation is far graver as they are seeking escape a fifth straight Premiership defeat.

The Cherry and Whites were touted as top four contenders before the season started, but have sunk to 10th following defeats by Exeter, Bath, Wasps and Harlequins.

Director of rugby Nigel Davies admits Kingsholm will host a key match against the Tigers.

"It's always a huge game in its own right, but it's particularly important for us at this stage where we're desperate for a win," Davies

"We've not performed anywhere near the levels we expect of ourselves and we need this win. It's a crucial fixture for us.

"Leicester come here with a physical edge and look to squeeze us at the set piece. That's what they do week in, week out.

"We need a big performance, we need a result and it's going to be a huge game for us."

England prospect Henry Trinder returns from a quad strain at outside centre, one of five changes made by Gloucester.

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