Reading manager Steve Coppell has admitted that Dave Kitson's frustratingly slow recovery from a knee injury means the former Cambridge United striker may not return to action until mid-October.
The Royals forward has been sidelined since the first game of the season when he was clattered by Middlesbrough defender Chris Riggott.
It was initially hoped that the 26-year-old would only be out of action for a couple of weeks but he is now not expected to return until October 14 - almost two months after he picked up the injury.
"Realistically we're looking at after the international break," Coppell told the club's official website.
"It's going slowly, and that's a concern. We'd expected more progress.
"The doctor who has been treating him has been away. He's had three injections, he's got one more to come, I think that will be the last and we hope for a response from it.
"We're not looking at surgery, time will heal it. Centre-forwards get physical attention, maybe looking at his frame he could be bigger, but it's unfair to call him injury prone."