David Moyes is aiming to give some of his senior Sunderland players the night off for the EFL Cup clash with Southampton.
Captain John O'Shea, Steven Pienaar and top scorer Jermain Defoe are set to travel with the squad to the south coast for Wednesday night's game (kick-off 7.45pm).
But Moyes will rely on other members of his squad for the fourth round clash, with Sunderland in touching distance of a quarter-final spot.
Sunderland are in need of a morale boost after the late 1-0 defeat to West Ham United at the London Stadium left the club rooted to the foot of the Premier League.
The players returned to training at the Academy of Light on Sunday, with Patrick van Aanholt and Jack Rodwell sitting out the last couple of days with slight niggles.
Moyes is hopeful, though, that both will be available for selection at St Mary's Stadium, with Victor Anichebe likely to lead the line for Sunderland.
Teenager Joel Asoro, 17, could also feature again having started both EFL Cup wins over Shrewsbury Town and QPR.
"It’s a chance for Joel and Victor," said Moyes.
"I’ll take Jermain with us, but I have to be careful with the likes of Jermain, John O’Shea, and Steven Pienaar, because it is asking a lot for them to play three games in a week at the level of intensity we need them to play at.
"I need Jermain’s goals, I need Steven Pienaar’s experience, John O’Shea’s experience at the back, but they are the ones I have to be very careful with."
On Anichebe, Moyes added: "He has a chance of starting. It is a chance for him, and it is also a chance for us to see how we might play with a big man up front.
"It’s something we will have to look at to see if it can work for us."
Sunderland's injury problems are easing but Moyes is not expecting to have any of his injured players back for the trip to the south coast.
Moyes added: "We know we have a few difficulties with injuries, although there are a few players on the horizon who are not far away - Vito Mannone and Seb Larsson are making really
good progress - although we haven’t got anybody back for this game.
"We will go with roughly the same squad, but I will try to give some of the senior ones the night off because I need them for the game on Saturday, although they will be involved [in the squad] because of the numbers.
"I want to get through in the cup. We don’t have European fixtures, we don’t have too many fixtures, so I don’t see it as too big a problem for the boys.
"We are carrying one or two knocks.
"Pat has got a slight adductor strain, Jack has a slight calf injury, and they haven’t trained for the last couple of days but we are hoping that by the time we travel to Southampton they
will both be available."
Sunderland Under-23s drew 1-1 with Reading at the weekend and Moyes will again include some of the younger players in the squad for Southampton.
He added: "I don’t think they’ll start.
"They are doing okay for the U23s, we’ve brought a through few with Jordan Pickford, Lynden Gooch.
"And we are a pretty young side as it is.
"But two or three of them will be travelling with us, the likes of George Honeyman, Joel Asoro, Tommy Robson, and one or two others."