Pedro Obiang may be edging the race for a place in the team ahead of Alex Song.
ClaretandHugh understands that the midfielder has been “extremely sharp” in training this week and could well get the call from Slaven Bilic to replace the suspended Mark Noble.
Alex Song’s long injury lay off is likely to see him take a place on the bench with a training ground source saying: “Ninety minutes may ell be too much for him at this stage.
“Some would have preferred him to get more than the 10 minutes he received at the weekend against Spurs but whatever the state of the game on Sunday he should certainly get on for longer.
“Slaven could go the other way, give him a start and take him off later but most people are seeing that as unlikely. Pedro has looked good this week and is probably the more likely starter.”
Andy Carroll has played a full part in training this week but there is no word on whether the club’s record signing will get the call.
One source said: “It hasn’t worked so far but the manager doesn’t simply accept situations. He may well try to find way of making it work!”