Wasps are one of five clubs in mid-table that are separated by only two points.
"This is obviously a massive game for us, and this next period of five games will really shape our season," said Wasps rugby director David Young.
"We understand the threat that London Irish pose to us. Despite only winning three (Premiership) games, they have scored a lot of points, which has given them the bonus points to put them third in the table.
"It was evident from last weekend's game against Cardiff Blues that even with 14 men (centre Steven Shingler was sent off) they could have won that game.
"There is obviously a great team spirit there for them to put out those kind of performances."
Former Ospreys centre Jonathan Spratt replaces the suspended Steven Shingler as Irish return to league action, partnering Joe Ansbro in midfield. There are recalls for scrum-half Paul Hodgson and flanker Jamie Gibson, with new signing Ofisa Treviranus on the bench.
Wasps pair Dom Waldouck and Elliot Daly together in midfield for the first time this season, with prolific try-scoring wings Tom Varndell and Christian Wade returning to action after being rested for last weekend's Amlin Challenge Cup game against Rovigo. Hooker Rob Webber makes his 100th appearance for the club.
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