Middlesbrough midfielder Barry Robson will sit out the Championship clash with Leeds through suspension.
Robson begins a three-match ban after being dismissed late in the club’s 2-2 home draw with Portsmouth a fortnight ago for elbowing Aaron Mokoena and will miss the games against Leeds, Nottingham Forest and Norwich.
Skipper Gary O’Neil has recovered from a tight hamstring but Senegal international Mickael Tavares is battling against a virus.
Justin Hoyte is close to returning from a hamstring injury while Kevin Thomson hopes to be available after limping off just five minutes into his return from a fractured fibula against Pompey.
Jonathan Franks (herniated disc), Willo Flood (knee), Rhys Williams (pelvis) and Matt Kilgallon (back) remain on the casualty list.
Leeds will be without suspended defender Alex Bruce and goalkeeper Shane Higgs for the clash at Middlesbrough.
But Simon Grayson’s squad could be boosted by the return of several first-team players, with Paul Connolly back in contention following a hamstring injury, while Lloyd Sam, Fede Bessone, Aidy White, Ross McCormack and Leigh Bromby all proved their fitness in the reserves in midweek.
Bruce was sent off in the defeat at former club Ipswich last time out and must serve a one-game ban, while Higgs was replaced by on-loan Blackburn goalkeeper Jason Brown after sustaining a hamstring injury.
First-choice goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has been sidelined since the end of August with a foot injury and has an outside chance of returning to the bench.
Grayson must decide whether to stick with holding midfielder Amdy Faye, who made his debut in the defeat at Ipswich, while Adam Clayton, Max Gradel, Sanchez Watt and Andrew Hughes are all hoping for places in the starting line-up.