Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta has a 50-50 chance of being fit for the visit of Sunderland.
The Spaniard made his comeback as a substitute in Saturday's FA Cup defeat to Birmingham after almost a year out with a cruciate knee injury.
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However, he sustained a minor groin problem in a practice game yesterday which, ironically, had been arranged to give the likes of him and new loan signing Philippe Senderos a chance to improve their match fitness.
Centre-back Senderos, signed on loan from Arsenal until the end of the season, is in the squad but is likely to be among the substitutes.
Senderos accepts his Arsenal career is over but hopes he can impress new manager David Moyes enough over the coming months to start afresh on Merseyside.
The 24-year-old, out of contract in the summer, completed his temporary move to the Toffees yesterday having fallen so far out of favour with the Gunners he played just two Carling Cup ties for them in the last two seasons.
He was loaned out to AC Milan for the entire 2008/9 campaign but on his return featured only in the second-string sides which beat West Brom and Liverpool.
Having failed to secure a permanent move to Everton last summer the Swiss international is determined to seize his second chance.
"I'm out of contract in the summer so going back to Arsenal I don't think is an option," he said.
"But staying here for longer, why not? If things go well you never know."
Senderos admits he found it difficult when he was sidelined by Arsene Wenger but stressed he did not have a problem with the Gunners boss and was just looking forward to playing again.
"He picked me from when I was an 18-year-old in Switzerland and I played over 100 games for Arsenal so I owe him a lot for the trust he put in me," he added.
"It has been tough but it is a situation you have to accept as a player.
"I try not to look back too much but it has not been easy as a football player as I was fit when I was at Arsenal but I didn't get my chance.
"I knew Everton were interested in the summer and I wanted to join them but it didn't go through.
"Hopefully I can get playing a few games in a row and get back to my level.
"It is definitely a very good move for me and I'm happy to be here and be able to prove myself.
"I know Everton have a great manager in David Moyes and I am really happy to be playing under him and hopefully he will help me develop as a player."
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has called on Kenwyne Jones to put speculation of a move to Liverpool behind him and concentrate on reproducing the form which made him an in-demand striker.
Bruce conceded the Trinidad and Tobago international had been unsettled by talk of a loan switch to Liverpool, culminating in a poor display in last Saturday's 2-1 FA Cup loss at Portsmouth as the Black Cats saw their woeful run extended to one win in 10 games in all competitions.
News of the prospect of Jones moving to Anfield emerged last week, with Bruce labelling the approach "disrespectful" before Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez down played talk of a switch yesterday.
Black Cats chairman Niall Quinn spoke to Liverpool chief executive Christian Purslow over the weekend and Bruce said: "The situation, I'm led to believe, is led by agents, which I find unhealthy.
"We hope the whole thing is gone to bed and put away."
Jones, who signed a four-and-a-half-year deal 12 months ago, has netted just one goal in Sunderland's last 11 matches.
Ahead of the trip to Everton, Bruce added: "It certainly has unsettled him. His performance on Saturday reiterated that - and that's my fear.
"With all the speculation and nonsense that is surrounding him, he has had his head turned by a ludicrous notion that we are going to let him out on loan."
New signing Matthew Kilgallon and midfielder Lee Cattermole are in contention as Sunderland aim to end their woeful run.
Kilgallon was ineligible for the FA Cup fourth-round loss at Portsmouth after his move from Sheffield United, while Cattermole is poised to return following knee and hamstring trouble.
Phil Bardsley (hamstring) and Michael Turner (knee) are both out for up to three weeks after picking up injuries in the 2-1 defeat at Fratton Park as Sunderland's run was extended to one win in 10 games in all competitions.
Nyron Nosworthy and John Mensah could return, while George McCartney has recovered from the illness which ruled him out of the trip to the south coast but Anton Ferdinand (ankle) remains out.
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