Birmingham boss Lee Clark expects Keith Fahey to miss the opening weeks of the new Championship season as he continues his recovery from a groin injury.
The Republic of Ireland international was sidelined for the closing stages of last season before suffering further heartache when he was ruled out of Euro 2012.
Clark has admitted that the 29-year-old is still hampered by the problem and insists that he will not put Fahey's long-term future at risk by attempting to rush him back into action.
There is a slim chance that the influential midfielder will be able to return sooner than expected, but the Blues boss has vowed to be guided by the St Andrew's medical team.
"Keith is making slow progress," Clark told the Birmingham Mail. "It will probably be the middle of September when Keith is available for first-team selection.
"But Keith knows that, he's fine. We're not going to rush him back. I've never put anyone's career in jeopardy to try and get them back quickly from an injury.
"Keith knows the protocol he has got to go through. I'm not looking for players to be heroes and cut time off the return date.
"If they do it right and they listen to the medical team and they work as hard as they can on their rehab, they might do that, they might cut time off.
"But they certainly won't be put under pressure from me."
Meanwhile, Blues defender Jonathan Spector looks to have overcome his torn thigh muscle.
Spector initially sustained the problem back in March before suffering a recurrence in the play-off semi-final second leg with Blackpool.
Clark added: "He's doing his rehab, he will join the group next week when we are in Austria."