England will make a late decision on the fitness of Lewis Moody, who is doubtful for Sunday's RBS Six Nations Championship clash with Ireland at Lansdowne Road because of an infected finger.
Sale's Chris Jones, who was placed on standby earlier this week, will fly to Dublin with the England squad on Thursday afternoon.
If Moody is ruled out, Gloucester's Andy Hazell will be drafted into the starting line up with Jones taking Hazell's place on the replacements' bench.
England head coach Andy Robinson revealed that the Leicester flanker was in hospital as the England squad set off for Dublin.
Moody has been put on a drip in an attempt to force antibiotics through his infected finger.
If the treatment is successful it is hoped he will join up with the rest of the squad on Friday.
But Robinson admitted: "The chances of him playing are very slim. The infection is deeper than was originally thought."
Moody suffered a cut to his finger during England's defeat by France at Twickenham a fortnight ago and the injury became infected during a 10-minute appearance as a replacement in Leicester's crushing 83-10 victory over Newcastle in the Premiership last weekend.
Robinson said: "The mud got into it. He has had quite a big course of antibiotics but they haven't done the job we hoped they would.
"He has now had to go into hospital and been put on a drip to force the antibiotics through,'' added Robinson, who expressed his thanks to Sale Sharks who have supplied standby Jones to the England squad at short notice.
"I feel sorry for the people at Sale. Another player has been taken from them but they have been very supportive to us," he added.
England flanker James Haskell insists he will be pushing as hard as possible to be back from a toe injury in time to make his case for a spot in Eddie Jones' side looking to defend their RBS 6 Nations title next year.