NEWCASTLE United captain Fabricio Coloccini is out of the Wear-Tyne derby - and Steven Taylor has been pencilled in to replace him.
Colocccini returned from international duty last week with a groin problem.
And the 31-year-old defender - who missed Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Liverpool - won’t be fit in time for Sunday’s game against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
United manager Alan Pardew is yet to put a timescale on Coloccini’s return.
“Colo definitely won’t be available for Sunderland,” Pardew said.
Pardew will also be without Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa against Sunderland.
The 24-year-old will be unavailable because of a one-game suspension after being dismissed for bringing down Luis Suarez.
And Taylor’s return to fitness after more than a month on the sidelines is timely.
The 27-year-old suffered a hamstring problem in training after serving a three-game ban for his sending off in Newcastle’s defeat to Manchester City in August.
Taylor had been due to return to the practice field last week ahead of Liverpool’s visit to Tyneside.
But the club’s medical and fitness staff erred on the side of caution in the wake of Coloccini’s injury.
However, should Taylor, a derby veteran, fail to prove his fitness in time, Pardew will turn to Paul Dummett, who scored United’s second goal against Liverpool.
The 22-year-old had come off the bench in the wake of Yanga-Mbiwa’s dismissal.
And Pardew was delighted with his contribution at both ends of the pitch.
“We think Steven’s going to be OK,” said Pardew. “He was touch and go to train last week, but we just held him back.
“He did some extra work. We don’t really see a problem, and hopefully we don’t, but if not, we’ve got a new hero in Paul Dummett.”