Sale Sharks entertain Cardiff Blues at Edgeley Park on Friday evening after the two sides experienced contrasting fortunes in the opening round of Heineken Cup action.

Sale lost 36-17 at three-times European Champions Toulouse on Sunday after head coach Kingsley Jones picked an inexperienced side due to the five-day turnaround between their first two pool 5 fixtures.

The Sharks will therefore welcome back a host of star names, while the Blues will travel without a number of key players.

Dai Young’s men were 20-6 winners over Harlequins on Saturday but victory came at a price. Already without Lions heroes Martyn Williams and Gethin Jenkins, the Blues have now lost Captain Paul Tito, Welsh legend Gareth Thomas, Prop John Yapp and lock Bradley Davis to head, groin, bicep and neck injuries respectively.

The sides have met twice in Europe before, with Sale winning 26-24 in Stockport and the Blues triumphing 22-7 in the Welsh capital back in 2003/04.

Having won all three of their away games in last season’s competition, the Blues will be looking to emulate the achievement of the Ospreys after the last Welsh region to face the Sharks at Edgeley Park left for home with an 18-7 victory two-and-a-half years ago.