Meanwhile Bath are forced into making five changes after their brutal encounter with London Irish as England internationals Matt Banahan, David Flatman, Lee Mears and Scottish back rower Simon Taylor are all ruled out.
Both sides have hit the ground running with two victories and, although Saints have never won their first three Premiership games, Mallinder is confident they can continue their strong early season form.
"Bath have started the season really well and deserve plenty of respect," he said.
"We have scored some good tries, defended well at times and have a good team spirit in the squad.
"They like to play the game the same way that we do, have a very strong set-piece and backs who can break the defensive line but we have taken a lot of belief from our first two games.
"We had two very close games against them last season which went right down to the final whistle, and it wouldn't be surprising if it was close again this time," added Mallinder.
Former England Under-20 lock James Gaskell shrugged off an injury scare to lead Sale as the Premiership's youngest captain when they face slow-starting Harlequins in the other Friday night match while Wasps will be searching for their first victory of the season as they face old adversaries Leicester Tigers on Saturday.
Newly promoted Exeter Chiefs hope to maintain their impressive start as they welcome Newcastle to Sandy Park on Saturday after defeating Gloucester and running Tigers close last week.
Sunday's ties see Saracens visit bottom of the table Leeds Carnegie while London Irish will be without Steffon Armitage when they host Gloucester, after the England flanker fractured his shin at Bath.