Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has warned Fraizer Campbell he faces a mental battle as he prepares to return to action.
Campbell played 28 minutes of the reserves' 1-1 draw with West Ham on Tuesday after recovering from a serious knee injury.
The 23-year-old has been out of action since August after damaging knee ligaments in the win over Manchester City.
Sunderland are refusing to take any chances with Campbell's fitness, but Bruce is hopeful that the striker could be ready to play early next month.
However, Bruce knows from personal experience how difficult things can be psychologically after a lengthy lay-off.
Mental side"You have always got to deal with the mental side of it," Bruce told the Sunderland Echo.
"I remember when I broke my leg when I was younger and ended up trying to tackle with my other foot. You are always a little bit hesitant.
"You need a whack on it and all of a sudden, you are confident again and you know it's okay.
"It's very difficult for any player who has been out for such a long time."