Elwood's men are currently ninth in the RaboDirect PRO12 but face a tough run of fixtures starting with Edinburgh who sit just above them in the league followed by Irish powerhouses Munster and Leinster.
The Galway club have been strong at home but have struggled away with their last six fixtures all being won by the home side although they have won just once against Scottish opposition in their last five games.
It has been a month since their last home fixture at the Sportsground, a 14-3 win over Benetton Treviso, and with a passionate crowd behind them Elwood is expectant of his team.
"This is a season-defining period for us. After Edinburgh this weekend, we face Biarritz in back-to-back fixtures and then it's Munster and Leinster," said Elwood.
"It's such a fantastic atmosphere when we're playing at home and running out to a packed stadium so we're very much looking forward to that over the coming weeks.
"We're looking forward to Saturday's clash with Edinburgh. They secured a good win last week and will have their internationals back from the series so they'll be at full tilt.
"We recognise we are playing a good side but the key for us is to focus on ourselves and ensure we get everything right this weekend."
Edinburgh head coach Michael Bradley has made the most of his returning internationals with five slotting straight back into the side for the visit to Ireland.
Greig Laidlaw returns to fly-half and regains the captaincy while Matt Scott and Nick De Luca continue their international midfield partnership, Tim Visser moves back onto the wing and David Denton adds some muscle at the blind-side of the scrum.
Sean Cox moves back into his favoured position at lock and hooker Andy Titterrell replaces the injured Ross Ford while Allan Jacobsen starts at loose-head.
And former director of rugby at Connacht, Bradley, called on his side to continue their winning momentum after ending their seven-game losing streak with a 23-13 win over Ospreys last Friday.
"It was very important that we got a win last weekend, we badly needed to get a 'W' on the board. It's been great for our confidence as we've prepared for Saturday's game," he said.
"Connacht target the arrival of the visiting Scottish sides because they feel they've an excellent chance of winning those games.
"We've talked about that a lot at training this week as something we have to change.
"In the past we might not have brought the Scotland players straight back in and maybe given them the weekend off after the Tests, but it's vital that we build on the momentum from the Ospreys match, and have picked a strong side with the aim of doing just that."
At Sportsground , 5pm.
Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR, 14th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Leo Colgan, Eddie Hogan-O'Connell (both IRFU)
Citing Commissioner: Eugene Ryan (IRFU)