Ferdinand is back in training after a hamstring injury and could be ready to face his older brother Rio, if selected, at the Stadium of Light.
John Mensah (also hamstring) was due to train today, but the game is likely to come too soon for him, while Kieran Richardson will miss out with a similar problem.
Ready to play: Ferdinand (left) has overcome his injury
Manager Steve Bruce faces perhaps his most difficult decision with his goalkeepers as the fit-again Craig Gordon attempts to displace Belgian Simon Mignolet, while Fraizer Campbell and David Meyler (both knee) remain long-term absentees.
Provisional squad: Mignolet, Gordon, Onuoha, Bardsley, Angeleri, Bramble, Turner, Ferdinand, Da Silva, Cattermole, Riveros, Henderson, Malbranque, Elmohamady, Zenden, Colback, Reid, Bent, Gyan, Welbeck.
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