The Magpies summer signing missed the 0-0 draw at Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend with a dead leg.
Dan Burn was switched to left-back, with Sven Botman making his full league debut alongside Fabian Schar in central defence.
“Matt, we’ll make a very late decision,” Howe told reporters.
In other news, the United head coach hopes to have Ryan Fraser back in contention. He too was absent from the trip to the South Coast.
“Ryan, we hope, will be fit and available,” Howe said. He had a back spasm late last week, so was a late withdrawal from the game. He’s trained this week.”
Howe’s side host Premier League champions Manchester City having lost 4-0 to Pep Guardiola’s men at St James’ Park before shipping five goals at the Etihad Stadium.
On the Man City tie, Howe said: “We’d love a very good performance. We’d love a result to match that performance.
“This is the ultimate test for me, these games against Manchester City, Liverpool - they’re the real parameter of our quality. We want to narrow that gap between us and the top teams in the division.
“Last year, the results were hard on us against Manchester City. I thought they were tighter than they looked on paper, and they don’t look good on paper. The games were difficult, both different, but the home game last year, there was bits of our performance that was very, very good.
“But you need a bit of luck, need to be clinical and in the two games, we probably weren’t.”