The Scotland international is ineligible under the terms of his loan deal from Spurs, while central defender John Mensah is rated only 50-50 with a hamstring injury.
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David Meyler (ankle) could return after missing the trips to Aston Villa and Liverpool, but Andy Reid and George McCartney (both hamstring) remain on the sidelines.
Boss Steve Bruce is backing Darren Bent to follow in the footsteps of the north-east's legendary strikers.
The #10million man faces former club Tottenham having plundered 21 goals for the Black Cats this season.
That form has led to calls for the 26-year-old to be included in England boss Fabio Capello's World Cup plans, but whatever happens on that front, Bruce could hardly be more delighted with his club's record signing.
And Bruce believes Bent is revelling in the adulation previously enjoyed on Wearside by the likes of Brian Clough and Kevin Phillips, and on Tyneside by Jackie Milburn, Malcolm Macdonald and Alan Shearer.
He said: "The one thing he always wanted to do was play, and he bought into the idea of the north-east loving its centre-forwards.
"The adulation that was poured out on [Birmingham's] Kevin Phillips the other week was there for everybody to see, and Darren has bought into that.
"And I think he has benefited from playing week in, week out and being the number one."
Bent's fellow England hopeful Jermain Defoe is available for Spurs after sleeping in an altitude chamber to help his recovery from a hamstring problem.
Boss Harry Redknapp has hailed the striker as one of the reasons why he has no regrets over selling Bent.
"Darren's had a terrific season," he said. "He has scored his goals, it's been a great move for him and it's done him the world of good.
"He has played regularly, he's become a big player up there, a major player in their team and he has responded. He has put himself in the running for a World Cup place as well so good luck to him.
"It hasn't surprised me, I just ended up with a situation where I brought Jermain Defoe in"
Michael Dawson (Achilles), Tom Huddlestone (ankle), Vedran Corluka (ankle), Ledley King (thigh) and Aaron Lennon (groin) are out and Wilson Palacios (groin) is struggling to be fit.
Jonathan Woodgate (groin) is out for the season and Carlo Cudicini (wrist/pelvis) is also expected to miss the rest of the campaign but is back training.