Jack Rodwell is expected to face his former club Everton on Sunday, but Sunderland will be without Patrick van Aanholt and Billy Jones.
Midfielder Rodwell missed Monday's 3-1 Premier League win at Crystal Palace due to a knock, but head coach Gus Poyet expects the former Everton man to feature at the Stadium of Light this weekend.
Van Aanholt will play no part after dislocating his shoulder at Selhurst Park, while fellow full-back Jones remains sidelined with a hamstring problem.
Poyet told the club's official website: "I think we are going to keep Jack out of training for a little bit longer to make sure that he is 100 per cent there for Sunday, because we cannot take the risk with the amount of players we have.
"I would say it is 99 per cent he is going to be there with us which is important because we need people in the middle and it is important to have him with us."
He added: "I think he was getting better and learning a different way of playing whilst adapting to a new system, and again it is an opportunity when you want to show something because I think this game is very special for him."
Poyet is hopeful that Van Aanholt and Jones will soon be back in contention.
"Firstly we need to support Pat because like any player who has been playing week in week out, it is always disappointing to get an injury," he said.
"We need him because really he is our only recognised left-back so we are going to do some checks on him, but he looks better today [Friday[ and he looks more relaxed about the injury.
"Billy is doing well but he is very, very unlucky and it was so difficult to accept.
"Sometimes you are playing football for 20-25 games then you get an injury and it is part of the game, but after what happened in pre-season and how good an impact he had in our team, to get that injury during the international break really, really hurt everyone at the club.
"We are trying to help him feel part of it and make sure that we he comes back he does so for many, many games."comments