Tonga tighthead prop Sila Puafisi will make his Warriors debut, with Fiji second-row Leone Nakarawa and Scotland trio Tommy Seymour, Peter Horne and Gordon Reid also back in the team.
USA international lock Greg Peterson will make his first start for the club, after making two appearances from the bench.
Seymour starts at full-back, with Sean Lamont moving to the left wing in place of Rory Hughes and Lee Jones coming in on the opposite side for Taqele Naiyaravoro, who has been named on the bench.
Champions Glasgow and last season’s fourth-placed side Ospreys have lost three and four games respectively so far and, even this early in the season, tomorrow has the feel of a big match.
Townsend said: “It is a very big challenge. I have been hearing comments from them during the week talking about this as a ‘must-win’ game.
“They have Welsh international players back in the squad, the likes of Alun-Wyn Jones, Scott Baldwin, Dan Lydiate, Dan Biggar and they are quality players, British and Irish Lions. They realise they have to up their game playing another team, like them, that has been challenging for the play-offs over the last few years. It is what we want, we want to rise to that challenge and that is the aim this weekend.”
Peterson, meanwhile, loved every minute of his World Cup experience, which included coming up against a few future team-mates in the pool clash against Scotland at Elland Road.
“It was incredible, one of those things I’ll cherish for a long time,” reflected the Australia-born second row, who grew up with his American parents in Sydney.
“Just being down in Brighton for the first game, walking around the streets and the festivities were huge, there was such a buzz around the city and it was the same in all the venues after that.
“The Scotland match was great. I got to chat with Swinno, Duncs and Kevin Bryce after the game, it was good to have a quick chat with them. It was a tough game. In the first half we did really well but in the second we struggled a bit.
“Scotland to their credit took it to the house and blew us out of the water a bit, which was a bit disappointing in the end but it was a great atmosphere. Seeing all the kilts around was great.”
Peterson is now focused on making the most of his chance at Scotstoun and is braced for a physical test against the Welsh side tomorrow.
He said: “The Ospreys haven’t won too many games but they’re a very big team with a big pack and I think they’ll come and try and bully us to get the win. We’ll have to do the same back to them. Bullies don’t like to get bullied. Hopefully we can nudge them out.”
Ospreys coach Steve Tandy said: “It doesn’t get much tougher than going away to the champions but we are up for it.
“We are going to one of the toughest places in the Pro12, there’s going to be a full house, and they will want to pick up some points to improve their own position as they have also been badly hit by the World Cup.
“Our World Cup boys coming back into the environment this week has been able to lift everybody That should make for a cracking contest, and we’ll have to be up a few notches from where we’ve been so far.”