Fulham manager Mark Hughes insists Andy Johnson will not be rushed back to compensate for the loss of Bobby Zamora.
Hughes confirmed Zamora will be sidelined for at least five months after fears he had sustained ankle ligament damage in last Saturday's 2-1 victory over Wolves proved correct.
With the England striker and Fulham's most dangerous player out for half the season, the pressure has grown on Johnson to make his comeback.
The club's record £10.5million signing from Everton missed most of last season with a knee injury but is three to four weeks away from a return to first-team action. Hughes, however, will only pick the former England marksman if he is fully fit.
"We don't want to rush Andy. He's had experience of trying to get back too soon as a consequence of his enthusiasm to be playing," he said. "Unfortunately in the past he's come back too soon and that's cost him, preventing him from sustaining his fitness.
"We're not of the view that we must bring him back quickly even though we've lost Bobby. It's more important for Andy that he's clear in his mind that he's 100% when he does return. When Andy does come back he'll be in and around the first team for a significant amount of time and that will help us get through the loss of Bobby."