Cian Bolger is in line for his debut as out-of-sorts Colchester aim to halt high-flying Peterborough.
The centre-back signed on Thursday on a one-month loan deal from Bolton to provide welcome defensive cover for a U's side who are winless in 12 matches in all competitions.
David Wright sustained a hamstring injury late on in Tuesday's 1-1 draw at Shrewsbury and joins fellow defenders Tom Eastman, Josh Thompson (both ankle), Mason Spence (hamstring) and Danny Pappoe on the sidelines.
Striker Freddie Sears picked up a hamstring problem of his own in the first half at the Greenhous Meadow and is a doubt along with Jabo Ibehre, who missed out altogether against the Shrews, while Drey Wright (knee) and Sanchez Watt (thigh) continue to miss out.
Lee Tomlin is expected to make his long-awaited return to the Peterborough squad.
Tomlin has been out for the past month after suffering an ankle injury during the Capital One Cup defeat at Sunderland on September 24 but the seven-goal forward should at least be on the bench in Essex.
Manager Darren Ferguson is also hoping to have Mark Little available after the full-back missed the midweek stalemate with Sheffield United due to the hip problem that forced him off against Shrewsbury last Saturday.
Recent signing Shaun Jeffers scored a hat-trick for the development squad this week and the young striker could come into Ferguson's thinking for a starting spot after making his debut as a late substitute against the Shrews.