Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has warned striker Fraizer Campbell he faces a mental battle as he prepares for his return to first-team action.
The 23-year-old played 28 minutes of the reserves' 1-1 draw with West Ham on Tuesday, his first taste of action since he damaged knee ligaments in August last year.
Neither he nor his manager will take any chances with his recovery, although Bruce is hopeful that he could be ready to play early next month with Liverpool's Barclays Premier League visit to the Stadium of Light on March 20 likely to come a little too soon.
However, the former Manchester United defender knows from personal experience how difficult things can be psychologically after a lengthy lay-off. He told the Sunderland Echo: "You have always got to deal with the mental side of it.
"I remember when I broke my leg when I was younger and ended up trying to tackle with my other foot. You are always a little bit hesitant.
"You need a whack on it and all of a sudden, you are confident again and you know it's okay. It's very difficult for any player who has been out for such a long time."