Sunderland head coach Paolo Di Canio faces the daunting task of a trip to Chelsea with a threadbare squad in his first Premier League match in charge.
Di Canio has doubts over midfielder David Vaughan due to a groin problem and defender Carlos Cuellar, who is struggling with his ankle.
Captain Lee Cattermole and striker Steven Fletcher will both miss the rest of the season with knee and ankle injuries respectively.
But there is some hope for long-term absentee Wes Brown, who is continuing to train without suffering a reaction to his knee problem.
Chelsea's fixtures continue to come thick and fast as they battle on three fronts with FA Cup and Europa League trophies to play for.
Fernando Torres scored twice against Rubin Kazan on Thursday but given the rotation policy, Rafael Benitez could restore Demba Ba to the starting line-up for the visit of the Black Cats.
Oscar and Eden Hazard were both involved as substitutes in Europe, with John-Obi Mikel left on the bench, so all three can expect recalls to the team on Sunday.