Five uncapped players are included in the 23-man group for the game at Malta's Ta'qali National Stadium, including Inverness Caledonian Thistle striker Billy McKay, who has scored 20 goals in 27 games this season.
Hull City defender Alex Bruce, who switched allegiance after playing twice in non-competitive matches for the Republic of Ireland, could also make his first appearance for Northern Ireland.
Other potential new caps are Ryan McLaughlin (Liverpool), Adam McGurk (Tranmere) and Trevor Carson (Bury).
Striker Kyle Lafferty and defender Chris Baird have been left out as the duo are suspended for the next World Cup qualifier against Russia.
Northern Ireland squad to face Malta on February 6: Carroll, Mannus, Carson, Hughes, J Evans, McGivern, Cathcart, McAuley, Lafferty, Bruce, Davis, Norwood, C Evans, McGinn, Brunt, Ferguson, McLaughlin, Shiels, Ward, Grigg, McKay, McCourt, McGurk