New Sunderland signing Jason Denayer is in line for his first Sunderland start in the Checkatrade Trophy game against Rochdale.
Jan Kirchhoff will start the game at Spotland (7.45pm kick-off) and Denayer plus defender Billy Jones are also in line for a start.
Denayer signed on loan on deadline day, arriving for the season from Manchester City.
First team coach Robbie Stockdale said: "We are just waiting on the fitness of a couple, we are hopeful Jason Denayer will be involved too, after seeing how he has come through a couple of days training."
The revamped Football League Trophy, which has suffered from poor attendances, has caused controversy after Premier League Under-23 sides were invited to participate for the first time alongside League One and League Two outfits.
Six of the 16 top flight clubs invited rejected the offer but Sunderland are taking part and they are in Northern Group F with Hartlepool United, Rochdale and Notts County.
Sunderland will have to field six players who are 21 or under in their starting XI against Rochdale - currently bottom of League One - with first-teamers eligible for the remaining positions.