Wigan defender Antolin Alcaraz is slightly ahead of schedule in his return from injury but manager Roberto Martinez will not rush him back.
The centre-back has not played since late August as first suspension and then a groin problem sustained on international duty with Paraguay have kept him sidelined.
And while his recovery is progressing well Martinez is putting no pressure on the 30-year-old to return to a defence which has not kept a clean sheet since August 25.
“He’s probably around five or six days ahead of where we thought he’d be at this stage, so in many ways we’re pleased with that,” the Spaniard told the Wigan Evening Post.
“But the important thing now is not to put too much pressure on him, because the last thing we need now is a reaction.
“Antolin has been progressing slowly, but it was a very bad area to get an injury and that has been shown with the length of time it has taken him to recover.
“The work has been slow but he will benefit a lot from what he has done over the last few weeks at the training ground.
“It’s still hard to assess how long it will be before he is back out on the pitch but I don’t think he is anywhere near to being in a pain-free level at the moment.”