Andy Flower has faith in side
Middle-order batsman Collingwood is rated only "50-50" to be fit to face South Africa at Newlands, and his absence would almost certainly mean a debut for either Michael Carberry or Luke Wright.
A final fitness test today will decide whether Collingwood takes the field tomorrow in a series England lead 1-0 with two to play after their innings victory in Durban.
Flower made it clear that – specifically in Carberry, called up as specialist batting cover when Collingwood dislocated his left index finger at Kingsmead – he has supreme confidence.
Collingwood is in perhaps the best form of his life in all formats, but Flower appears unfazed by the prospect of having to get by without him in such a crucial Test.
"If he goes out, we'll lose some of that experience," he concedes. "But you gain in another way if the debutant comes in and kicks off his international career. We're not worried. If he can't play, he can't play – we'll get on with it."