West Bromwich Albion boss Alan Irvine says it will be difficult for James Morrison to get back to action quickly after missing pre-season.
Morrison has only just returned to light training following a knee injury and will miss Saturday’s Premier League opener against Sunderland.
Reports suggest he may not be available until September and Irvine admits it is a blow to be without such an important player.
“It's a big concern that Morrison hasn't trained all summer,” he said.
"He's an important player for us and we could have done with him being with us for pre-season. Unfortunately he had an operation just before pre-season started and sadly it's taken him an awful lot longer to get back than was anticipated.
"It's a big disappointment because we could do with all our best players being fit and available.
"Clearly, when you miss a pre-season, it becomes difficult to catch up.
"He joined in the early part of training on Friday, but I think I could have taken part in that part of training.
"The boys that have done pre-season have been in for five-and-a-half weeks and there isn't a short cut to getting fit and ready for games.
"It's going to be a big, big task for him to get up to his maximum and best condition quickly."