Lee Cattermole and Steven Pienaar are close to returns for Sunderland but Sunday's game at Tottenham could come too soon.
Midfielder Cattermole has not played this season after undergoing hernia surgery, while Pienaar has been nursing a hamstring strain, but both are back in training.
Defender Billy Jones (hip) is also training, but not quite as close to playing again, while striker Victor Anichebe has picked up a thigh problem while working his way towards match fitness.
Goalkeeper Vito Mannone (elbow surgery), midfielder Sebastian Larsson (knee) and striker Fabio Borini (groin) remain on the long-term casualty list.
After one point from the first four matches, Sunderland are in need of an improvement and boss David Moyes says it is time to knuckle down in order to get their first win of the campaign.
"At this point you have two options," he said. "You can either buy new players or get out on the grass and work with the players. Well, we can’t get new players now so we’re heading out to the grass.
"But the players have to stand up as well, they have to show they’re better than what they showed the other night."
Team (from): Pickford, Mika, Love, Manquillo, Djilobodji, O'Shea, Denayer, McNair, Van Aanholt, J. Robson, T. Robson, Cattermole, Kirchhoff, Rodwell, Gooch, Khazri, Januzaj, Pienaar, E. Robson, Asoro, Defoe, Watmore.