Lee Cattermole will miss Saturday's trip to the Kassam Stadium as Jack Ross keeps one eye on a hectic upcoming fixture list.
Cattermole picked up an ankle injury last week and sat out the 1-0 win over AFC Wimbledon, a game in which Grant Leadbitter made his Black Cats return.
The 30-year-old will be back in action soon but with five games in a fortnight, Ross wants his fully fit when he does return.
Bryan Oviedo is also a minor doubt for the game against Oxford United.
"Lee will miss this weekend," Ross said.
"We were touch and go on it, we had a conversation with him about it and decided we would go from Monday on it as we've got a large number of games after Saturday.
"I'd rather have him properly fit and healthy.
"Bryan picked up a minor injury today but I've not spoken to the physio yet."
Ross otherwise has a deep squad to pick from, with Will Grigg fit to travel south.
Two players who will miss out but are getting closer to a return are full-backs Denver Hume and Donald Love.
"[Denver] played 90 minutes on Sunday for the U23s which is more than we thought he would," he said.
"He then had 45 minutes in a bounce game here at the Academy against the young ones yesterday.
"He's more or less there, we'll probably get him another U23 game and then he'll have to fight his way back into the squad and the team.
"But he's trained well, I like him and he'd enjoyed a positive season before the injury so it's nice to have him available.
"Donald has had an ankle injury," Ross added.
"He had various types of work [on it] but kept breaking down.
"He had surgery on it about ten weeks ago.
"The timescale was about 12 to 14 weeks so he's still potentially anywhere between two and four weeks away."
Love has not featured since the 1-1 draw with Saturday's opponents back in September.
Earlier this week Hume opened up on his injury comeback in a 1-0 win over Reading U23s.
"It's been a while but I'm obviously pleased to get back out there, pleased to get some minutes, and hopefully I can push on now,” he said.
“It was just a case of seeing how long I could last. I've been back in training for a couple of weeks now.
“They just said to see how I felt after 60 or 70 minutes on Sunday and it was all good, so I was pleased to play the full 90.
“I’m not sure of the plan now. Ideally I would maybe play one more game with the U23s just to get some more minutes and make sure I still feel good, but I'll wait and see what happens.
“The injury came at the wrong time. I was doing quite well but sometimes things like that happen in football and you just have to recover from it and come back stronger,” Hume added.
“I did my MCL and I had a little tear in my meniscus, that was what was giving me the trouble, but once I got that sorted out, it has been quite good since then.
“ All injuries are frustrating but you just have to try and bounce back from them and recover as quickly as possible.
“The team has been doing really well. It's good to see the lads doing well and we are pushing up the league, so hopefully I can get back in the team and play a part as well.”