Sunderland's Lee Cattermole is a major doubt for the Barclays Premier League clash with Burnley.
The former Middlesbrough and Wigan midfielder is struggling with a calf problem, and manager Steve Bruce will not risk him until he is fully fit.
But skipper Lorik Cana (groin) and defender John Mensah (hamstring) have resumed training and are in contention, while Fraizer Campbell is hoping to shake off an illness to retain his place in the side.
However, Andy Reid and George McCartney (both hamstring) remain on the casualty list.
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce will have no qualms about plunging old friend Brian Laws deeper into relegation trouble.
The two men, who learnt their football at the famous Wallsend Boys' Club and travelled to Burnley together as they tried to make their way in the professional game, will go head-to-head at the Stadium of Light with the visitors desperately clinging on to their Premier League status.
Burnley are currently four points adrift of safety and would remain inside the drop zone even if they won at the Stadium of Light despite last weekend's stunning 4-1 success at Hull.
But friendship will go out of the window as Bruce attempts to guide his side to the victory which would finally mathematically confirm Sunderland's continued presence in the big time.
He said: "I have known Brian a long time. He is from the area - I played at the same boys' club as he did, and I know the sort of pressure he was under.
"After the horrible defeat against Manchester City, for his team to go and win 4-1 away at Hull just shows you what a crazy game we are in and how dangerous the game will be for us.
"If we are not tuned in, like we were against Tottenham or in our last few home games, we are going to come unstuck.
"It's quite simply because they are fighting for their lives, and that will give them a bit of confidence.
"It's given them a lifeline and it will give the a belief that if they can take something from us, then they have got a chance."
Laws could name an unchanged team after they chalked up their first away win in 17 league games at Hull last weekend to ease their relegation fears.
Stephen Jordan is doubtful with a knee injury while Chris McCann remains sidelined with a similar problem.
Burnley captain Steven Caldwell is desperate to play a pivotal role against his former club.
He stepped off the bench in the 4-1 victory over Hull and felt no reaction following a four-month absence with groin and abdominal problems.
With four games left that emphatic win has given Burnley a chance of a second successive season in the top flight and Caldwell said: "I want to play now.
"Time is running out and I feel as though I am ready. I want to be out there. It will be a special day for me going back. I sincerely hope I am playing.
"It is a tremendous place to play football, a great stadium and some great people running the club.
"We have four massive cup finals and beating Hull has given us a bit more confidence. We are buoyant but know Sunderland are an excellent side."
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