Titus Bramble is set to start at Liverpool tomorrow as Sunderland boss Steve Bruce attempts to find a solution to a major defensive headache.
The 29-year-old is included in the squad despite being questioned by police over an allegation of rape in midweek.
His presence will be a major plus for Bruce, who has seen both Kieran Richardson and Anton Ferdinand join John Mensah (calf) on the sidelines with hamstring problems sustained during Tuesday’s Carling Cup defeat by West Ham, although Michael Turner (ankle) has returned to training.
Record signing Asamoah Gyan is a major doubt with a hamstring injury, although skipper Lee Cattermole returns from a two-match ban following his second red card of the campaign.
Goalkeeper Craig Gordon is close to returning to full training after breaking his arm, but striker Fraizer Campbell is facing six months out after undergoing knee surgery and David Meyler (also knee) is a long-term casualty.
Provisional squad: Mignolet, Carson, Onuoha, Bardsley, Angeleri, Bramble, Turner, Da Silva, Riveros, Henderson, Malbranque, Elmohamady, Zenden, Colback, Reid, Bent, Welbeck.