Gary Speed insists he will not hurry Jamie Ward back from injury despite a shortage of strikers at Sheffield United.
Ward has been sidelined for the Blades' last four matches due to an Achilles injury and is unlikely to return for Saturday's South Yorkshire derby clash at Barnsley.
Darius Henderson is a long-term absentee and Daniel Bogdanovic is serving a suspension, leaving Ched Evans and Richard Cresswell as Speed's only real options up front.
But the mananger is adamant he will not rush 24-year-old Ward's recovery just to make up numbers.
Speed said: "I think it might be a little bit too early for Jamie. There's always a chance and you never know but I reckon he might have to wait. He's been getting treatment so we'll see how he responds.
"Obviously we'd rather he was available. But, even though we are well down in terms of numbers in that department, we can't afford to take unnecessary risks. We'll just have to see how it goes."
Meanwhile, Mark Yeates is expected to return to contention having missed last month's defeat at Bristol City with a back injury.