The visitors have taken seven points from their last three matches and are seventh in the table, while their opponents are in the relegation zone following a poor start.
Rio Ave's reward for finishing fifth in the Portuguese top flight last season was a place in the Europa League qualifiers, but they were knocked out in the playoff round in an incredible penalty shootout with AC Milan.
The Rioavistas are now having to do it all over again, and they have made a rather mixed start to the 2020-21 campaign, their first under head coach Mario Silva.
After drawing their first three matches and then losing 3-0 to Benfica, Rio Ave picked up much-needed wins over SC Farense and Moreirense to finally kickstart their season.
Last week's goalless draw with Belenenses will be considered a disappointment, but Silva's men are at least level on points with Nacional in the final European spot.
That stalemate also made it six away league matches without defeat for Rio Ave stretching back into last season, which should stand them in good stead for this weekend.
Despite their lowly position, Gil Vicente themselves boast a decent record on home soil, winning four and drawing two before going down 2-1 to Vitoria Guimaraes last time out.
The Gilistas' away form has ultimately let them down and they find themselves in the relegation zone, only kept off the foot of the table by Portimonense.
Vitor Oliveira's men did at least scrape past Oleiros in the domestic cup last week, while Rio Ave also advanced to the next round with a 2-1 win at Moncao to make it four without defeat in all competitions.
Gil Vicente Primeira Liga form: DDLLLL
Gil Vicente form (all competitions): DLLLLW
Rio Ave Primeira Liga form: DDLWWD
Rio Ave form (all competitions): DLWWDW
Defensive midfielder Diogo Santos is Gil Vicente's only confirmed injury doubt for Sunday's match.
Ryotaro Meshino, a late substitute last time out in the league, is among those in contention to return to the starting lineup.
Gil Vicente possible starting lineup:
Denis; Pereira, Nogueira, Rodrigao, Fernandes, Talocha; Baraye, Goncalves, Afonso, Leautey; Lino
Rio Ave possible starting lineup:
Kieszek; Pinto, Borekovic, Monte, Amaral; Pele, Augusto, Lopes; Meshino, Piazon, Mane
We say: Gil Vicente 1-1 Rio Ave
Gil Vicente may be second from bottom, but they have a pretty decent record on home soil over the past five months.
Rio Ave were held by Belenenses on their travels last time out and we can see them being frustrated again at Estadio Cidade de Barcelos.