Sunderland midfielder David Meyler will be recalled from his loan spell at Hull after the Tigers' npower Championship trip to Derby on Friday.
The Republic of Ireland international will return to Wearside as manager Martin O'Neill attempts to bolster his options for the busy holiday programme.
O'Neill said: "They play tonight and he would be recalled for the Christmas period, which we will have to do."
Meyler's return has been expected ever since skipper Lee Cattermole was ruled out for two months by a knee injury, although the 28-day rule prevented his immediate recall.
Sunderland face a difficult festive schedule with Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City heading for the Stadium of Light on Boxing Day three days before Tottenham follow them to the north east.
The Black Cats take on Southampton sitting just a point clear of the relegation zone.