Sunderland left-back Wayne Bridge is on stand-by to make his first start against Liverpool on Saturday.
Kieran Richardson is unlikely to feature in the clash at the Stadium of Light after suffering a calf problem in the 1-1 derby draw at Newcastle last time.
Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill admits 31-year-old Bridge could get his first start after making three appearances as a substitute since his loan move from Manchester City in January.
O'Neill said: "He would have to consider himself in contention.
"He has come here hoping at some stage or another he would be able to perform for us, so there is a strong possibility that he could get that position if Kieran doesn't make it.
"He has been out a fairly lengthy time. Of course, he had that spell with West Ham last year, but he has done a significant amount of training, so in terms of fitness, I don't think that should be a problem now.
"I suppose it takes a little bit of time to get used to things, and I accept also there's such a thing as fitness and then match fitness, but we just have to cope with that."
Richardson was being assessed on Friday morning but O'Neill thinks it is unlikely he will feature against the Reds.
He added: "I will have a look at him this morning and see how he is. The scan has come up and the scan has been very good.
"He still feels a little bit of something there, so it might be a case of seeing how he is. But at the moment, I would say he is unlikely."