Nigel Worthington feels David Healy needs more games at club level before he can be a Northern Ireland regular again.
Healy has seen his career spiral since becoming Northern Ireland's record scorer on 35 goals and has since fallen down the pecking order under Worthington.
The Sunderland striker, on loan at Ipswich until the end of the season, has failed to score on the international scene in 2009 and was subsequently dropped to the bench against Serbia at Windsor Park last November.
Healy had hoped his move to Portman Road would revitalise his chances of regaining his starting spot, but Worthington is not convinced the 30-year-old marksman is ready ahead of Wednesday's friendly with Albania.
"I have watched David recently and you can tell he has not played football for a long time on a regular basis," said the former Norwich manager.
"It shows the effect it has in physical sharpness and the mental sharpness. That's a fact. The more minutes David can get with Ipswich, Sunderland, wherever he's at, the better for him and the better for us.
"He's got a long way to go. When you have not started for your club side in the league for near on a year that is a hell of a long time.
"When you get five minutes here, 20 minutes there and 60 minutes in a cup game, it is not enough.
"Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday, that's where you get your sharpness. We have a number of players in that situation. That is one of the unfortunate things with our squad at the moment."
The squad trained on an artificial pitch on Tuesday as the surface at the riverside Qemal Stafa Stadium was waterlogged.
Conditions are not expected to improve overnight but Worthington told his players to face the challenge - or face the consequences.
He added: "I am not concerned about the pitch at all. I have been through the situation on many occasions. It has never been a problem.
"I won't have it as an excuse for an inept performance or an indifferent performance. It is not the best pitch as there has been a lot of rain and it is very heavy in the middle.
"What it is going to show me is the mental strength of some of our players. That is what trips are all about, dealing with these situations and not being distracted.
"I have told the players you are not going to be playing on Premier League pitches when you come abroad. So you have got to be adaptable and perform to get the result you want."