Sheffield United boss Kevin Blackwell admitted after the 1-0 defeat at Norwich City that James Beattie is still not fully fit following his summer knee operation.
The 30-year-old former Southampton and Everton striker has failed to find the net in his four appearances so far this season, after grabbing 22 goals for the Blades last term.
Blackwell said after seeing his side slip to 15th in the Championship table: "Beatts isn't quite right yet, we know that, but he has to play until we can get Darius Henderson fit.
"The more minutes he gets under his belt the sharper he'll become, but some of his decision-making with some of his passes were just off and that's the sign of a tired player.
"He's given us everything he's got and I can't complain."