Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is keeping his fingers crossed over skipper Lee Cattermole and striker Danny Welbeck.
Cattermole was told he needed to rest a back injury for a month at the start of the new year, but Bruce has given him a 50-50 chance of making the game, while Welbeck, who was initially ruled out for three weeks with the hamstring problem he suffered at Aston Villa on January 5, is in a similar position.
Defender Nedum Onuoha should return from a hamstring injury and Bolo Zenden is available after suspension, but David Meyler is facing around 10 weeks on the sidelines after further damaging his cruciate ligament at Villa.
Michael Turner (knee) is out and John Mensah (ankle) is expected to be missing once again, while Fraizer Campbell (knee) continues his recovery.
Newcastle striker Andy Carroll is out of Sunday's derby clash.
Manager Alan Pardew today admitted the 22-year-old will not be included in the squad despite travelling to Dubai for a warm weather break in a bid to aid his recovery from a thigh injury.
He will be joined on the sidelines by midfielder Cheik Tiote, who begins a three-match ban, and that means the Magpies will be without arguably their best two players of this season to date at the Stadium of Light. Defender Steven Taylor (hamstring), will also miss out.
However, Jose Enrique (illness), Jonas Gutierrez (leg) and Shola Ameobi (ankle) should all be available, and midfielder Dan Gosling has been included in the squad for the first time after his return from the long-term knee injury with which he arrived from Everton during the summer.
Sol Campbell (leg), Hatem Ben Arfa (double leg fracture) and Ryan Taylor (ankle ligaments) are still out.
Sunderland (from): Gordon, Mignolet, Onuoha, Bardsley, Richardson, Angeleri, Ferdinand, Bramble, Da Silva, Cattermole, Zenden, Riveros, Henderson, Malbranque, Elmohamady, Reid, Colback, Bent, Gyan, Welbeck, Adams, Cook, Reed.
Newcastle (from): Harper, Krul, Simpson, Perch, Ferguson, Enrique, Coloccini, Williamson, Barton, Nolan, Smith, Routledge, Gutierrez, Guthrie, Gosling, Vuckic, Donaldson, Ameobi, Lovenkrands, Best, Ranger.