Portsmouth boss Steve Cotterill insists injured duo Hermann Hreidarsson and Danny Webber will not be fully fit until the end of year.
Hreidarsson has been sidelined after rupturing his Achilles and stepped up his rehabilitation by featuring in a match against Iceland's Under 23s.
Webber is recovering from a knee ligament injury, but the striker is not expected to be ready for competitive action for at least another month.
Cotterill has admitted that the pair's return will provide a big boost to the Pompey squad, however, he is not willing to take a risk on their fitness.
"What you have got to bear in mind is these are two major operations these boys have had," Cotterill told The News.
"Hermann will be back quicker than Danny but we are not going to get them back and ready before the end of the year. That will be when they are properly competitive."
Wait for chance
Meanwhile, Richard Hughes accepts he may have to wait for his recall to the side after losing his place due to suspension.
Hughes sat out home victories against Leicester and Bristol City and was an unused substitute against Middlesbrough after being sent off in Pompey's Carling Cup defeat to the Foxes last month.
But the 31-year-old produced an impressive display in the recent reserve-team 3-0 win over Farnborough, setting up two goals.
"It was a good workout for us," Hughes told the club's official website.
"To be fair, the two goals that I set up involved some great finishing, especially the first from Carl Walshe and for the second it was a great reverse ball to set me up for a one-on-one with the keeper. I took a bad touch and found myself needing to go round him, so I returned the compliment and again it was a great finish.
"I have to wait for my chance because Hayden Mullins and Michael Brown have excelled in midfield and the manager has opted to play 4-4-2. I just have to be patient."