David Moyes is hoping that Jermain Defoe will come through training on Monday afternoon after picking up a knock against Watford at the weekend.
Moyes could be left struggling for attacking options with Victor Anichebe still recovering from his knee injury picked up at the Hawthorns in January.
The Sunderland boss thinks the Nigerian target man could be close to returning but still retains some reservations.
He said: "Jermain didn't train yesterday, and I need to see how he is today.
"He got a knock just below his knee at the weekend. It was nothing to do with his knee itself, it was just a challenge.
"He could be close, he’s trained now for probably a week, he’s still feeling his knee a little bit. There’s some parts of training that you think he looks OK, other parts, he’s got a little bit of a worry about putting his foot through the ball and striking it correctly.
"We’re in that period though where Victor we’re probably missing more than anybody. With or without Jermain we’re needing someone who gives us a way of getting up the pitch really."
Moyes added that the game situation at Vicarage Road always made it unlikely that Lee Cattermole would make his first team return.
The Sunderland boss threw on Didier Ndong and Wahbi Khazri in an attempt to save the game and while again underlined Cattermole's lack of match practice, he said he could yet play a part in the near future.
Moyes said: "Not really [tempted to bring on], because I felt as if we have midfielders who had been playing. On Saturday there may have been part of the game if we were winning 1-0 where I might have changed it but while we were chasing the game after about 60 minutes I just didn’t see it, it was always going to be about getting more attacking players on.
"It was always going to be the case that as soon as I introduced Lee back into the squad, people would be asking when he was going to play.
"The fact of the matter is that he has barely played a game all season.
"We brought him back into the squad because we wanted him to be part of it, we wanted his enthusiasm, his attitude.
"He may well get an involvement, but I don't think he is physically in the right condition to play, for example, 90 minutes but maybe he can help us for a period in the game."