Wolves boss Mick McCarthy is prepared to bide his time when it comes to handing Michael Kightly a recall.
The winger has been dogged by injuries over recent years, meaning he has not turned out in a competitive fixture since November 2009.
Ankle and knee problems have frustrated him at every turn, preventing him from making the most of his undoubted ability.
He is, however, still only 25 years old and is back on the comeback trail again this season.
Kightly came through a 45-minute run-out for Wolves' reserves on Thursday unscathed and is now setting his sights on the first-team.
McCarthy, though, has warned that he will not throw the playmaker back in ahead of schedule, even if Wolves could so with his creative talents in their battle to beat the drop.
"He was excellent and he's been training really well," he said.
"He had 45 minutes, feels great today, and I'm really pleased with his progress. He'll come back when he's ready. I'm not rushing him.
"At this stage now, when he's been injured for so long, I would love to have him involved with the first team.
"Just having him on the bench and warming up would lift our crowd and lift the rest of us. As soon as he's ready, he'll be involved."
McCarthy is aware that Kightly will be chomping at the bit to be drafted back in this season, with a lengthy spell on the sidelines having rocked his morale.
He said: "He's been grumpy at times, like you wouldn't believe. He's had those days because it's been a long road, but he's been a model pro.
"He's had some difficult days and difficult weeks, when I see the injury list and it says 'Michael Kightly - two weeks', then it goes to eight weeks, and then three months.
"How must you feel when you know you can't do your job for that length of time?
"He's maintained his focus to get himself right, and trained incredibly hard, so fingers crossed for him because he's a lovely kid and a fabulous player. I'd love to have him back."