Kieran Richardson will not be fit in time for Sunderland's trip to Portsmouth on Saturday.
The winger is recovering well from a hamstring injury, and is still hoping to play a major role in the Black Cats' battle against the drop, but the weekend fixture comes just too soon for him.
He has impressed when fit this season, scoring three goals in eight appearances, and is keen to avoid a repeat of his last comeback from injury which resulted in him breaking down less than two minutes into a game at Liverpool in January.
"The break has done me good and I'm now back running," Richardson told the Sunderland Echo.
"I can't wait to be playing football matches for Sunderland again, but the Portsmouth game will come too soon.
"I don't want to put a target on it, it might be next week, but it might be later.
"Hopefully it won't be too long."
He added: "Last time we played Portsmouth I really enjoyed the game and just scored a couple of goals.
"It would have been great to have played them again.
"But the main thing now is to get a good run in the side without injury.
"And for that to happen I've got to make sure I come back fully fit.
"Injuries are part and parcel of those things.
"I felt fine during the week in training, but I knew in the first minute of the game at Liverpool that there was a problem.
"Thankfully I came off pretty quick and hopefully that has made the difference between being out for a short while and a long while."