Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi is struggling to make the Boxing Day clash with Manchester City.
Ameobi would have missed the postponed Barclays Premier League trip to Birmingham last weekend with a hamstring injury, and is likely to miss out on Sunday.
However, defender Sol Campbell has shaken off the bout of illness which threatened his participation at St Andrews, and he and Steven Taylor will fight to keep their places as Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson belatedly return from suspension.
Keeper Steve Harper, who was an unused substitute for the 3-1 victory over Liverpool on his return from shoulder surgery, is pushing to replace Tim Krul, but Dan Gosling (knee), Ryan Taylor (ankle ligaments) and Hatem Ben Arfa (double leg fracture) are still out.
Team (from): Harper, Krul, Simpson, Perch, Ferguson, Enrique, Coloccini, Williamson, S. Taylor, Campbell, Kadar, Barton, Tiote, Smith, Routledge, Gutierrez, Guthrie, Nolan, Vuckic, Tavernier, Donaldson, Carroll, Lovenkrands, Ranger, Xisco.