Centre Gary Trueman is rested for the trip to Edgeley Park to allow him recovery time from a groin problem. Mark Tucker replaces him and will make his first Guinness Premiership start since late December alongside Dale Rasmussen who this week committed his future to Warriors with a new three-year deal.
Prop Tony Windo starts in the front row, with Darren Morris moving to the bench, but Tim Collier misses out after picking up a calf injury in training.
There are returns for Gavin Quinnell and Dominic Feaunati on the replacements bench.
"Matt Powell will be handed the captaincy, he is in a key decision making position and makes a lot of decisions on the pitch already," said Director of Rugby John Brain ahead of the Edgeley Park match.
"Matt is a player who has been in good form recently, he has a good idea in any team what the team needs to do and he is in a key position to influence that.
"It is natural that he has got the captaincy, but there are other leaders in that squad like Dale Rasmussen, who is effectively our defensive captain, and Tony Windo."
The Sharks have won just one of their last eight encounters since November in the Guinness Premiership while Warriors are now out to win successive Premiership matches for the first time since November 2005. The Warriors have in fact won four of their last six away games in all competitions, but Brain has warned against a Shark attack.
"They are the champions and they will see this as a real opportunity to break their losing sequence," he said.
"Sale have lost a lot of matches recently and I feel very sorry for Philippe Saint-Andre. He has had injuries to key players, on the back of that he gets international call-ups so I do have some sympathy for him.
"But they will be determined to break their slump against us and we have to be ready for that.
"They will still go on the field with nine or ten international players. Any team that contain the likes of Andrew Sheridan, Chris Jones and Mark Cueto is potentially a very good side."
Worcester Warriors team to face Sale Sharks:
01 Tony Windo, 02 Chris Fortey, 03 Tevita Taumoepeau, 04 Craig Gillies, 05 Phil Murphy, 06 Drew Hickey, 07 Tom Harding, 08 Kai Horstmann, 09 Matt Powell (c), 10 James Brown, 11 Thinus Delport, 12 Mark Tucker, 13 Dale Rasmussen, 14 Aisea Havili, 15 Shane Drahm
Replacements: 16 Darren Morris, 17 Aleki Lutui, 18 Richard Blaze, 19 Gavin Quinnell, 20 Nick Runciman, 21 Dominic Feaunati, 22 Lee Best