Wasps prop Matt Mullan is set to be named on the England bench for Saturday's Test against New Zealand after Alex Corbisiero was ruled out with a knee injury.
Corbisiero has joined Mako Vunipola on the injury list ahead of England's final Test of the year, leaving Joe Marler as the only senior loosehead in the squad.
Chris Ashton is set to start on the wing with both Marland Yarde and Christian Wade ruled out due to respective hip and hamstring problems.
26-year-old Mullan could win his second cap - his only previous cap came as a replacement against Italy in the 2010 Six Nations.
"Alex took part in Tuesday morning's forwards training session but suffered some discomfort to his knee," England head coach Stuart Lancaster said.
"He did not train on Tuesday afternoon and will not be available for selection for the weekend.
"It's disappointing for Alex having missed last year's Six Nations because of an injury to his other knee.
"With Mako also unavailable, it's a great opportunity for Joe Marler and Matt Mullan, who has been with us all week and is raring to go in the 23."
Marler is due to undergo a full-contact session on Thursday ahead of the official team announcement but is expected to start having undergone a daily increase in activity as demanded by concussion guidelines.
"Joe Marler has had no symptoms of concussion since Saturday," said England team doctor Phil Batty.
"He has passed all his cognitive function (CogSport) tests and balance assessments and completed a skills session on Tuesday without any problems."