Martin O'Neill has revealed that Sunday's derby date with Birmingham may come too soon for Luke Young.
The Aston Villa boss had hoped to have the defender back in action for the short trip to St Andrews.
The England international is yet to feature in the 2009/10 campaign after picking up a thigh injury during the pre-season Peace Cup tournament.
Having shaken off that knock he was then placed on compassionate leave following the death of his half-brother.
Young is some way short of full match fitness as a result and O'Neill is wary of handing him a first-team recall ahead of schedule.
"Having given it a bit more thought, I think Sunday may be a little too soon for Luke. There's no point rushing him through," he said.
"He's getting there and he's not feeling too bad at all.
"There are games we'll play behind closed doors that he can play in. We've got ways of getting players ready with these practice matches."
O'Neill is confident he has the depth within his squad to counter the loss of Young, providing players return from international duty unscathed.
He said: "At this moment, it looks like we will have more options. Carlos Cuellar hasn't had to travel anywhere for internationals so hopefully he'll be OK.
"We've got James Collins still to see about. Hopefully he's come through unscathed from his Wales match.
"Richard Dunne played on Saturday for the Republic of Ireland but didn't play in the friendly on Tuesday so we're hoping he'll be fine."