Norwich manager Alex Neil will not take any gambles by rushing midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu into his long-awaited debut.
The 28-year-old joined the Canaries on a free transfer following the end of his contract at West Brom, but suffered a broken metatarsal in the final preseason match with Brentford and needed surgery.
While Mulumbu is now back in training, Neil will give the combative DR Congo midfielder all the time he needs to return ready for the heat of Premier League battle.
"With Youssouf it is just a case of getting him up to speed now in terms of playing games, but when a player has been out for so long you don't want to rush him back and risk re-injuring that injury or a causing different one," said Neil, whose side travel to Newcastle on Sunday.
"He has only featured in three training sessions with the squad, even though he has trained fully.
"So we are probably looking to introduce him back into a game situation potentially next week and we will push Youssouf to the brink to get him fully fit as quickly as possible."
Neil confirmed no fresh injury concerns with the players returning from international duty.
Playmaker Wes Hoolahan has shrugged off a heel problem picked up during the home defeat by Leicester, while striker Gary Hooper has resumed training after his ankle injury.
Neil is determined his men can produce a response to the disappointment of losing at home to Leicester by heaping more misery on the Magpies, who are bottom of the table.
"It will be a tough game as they all are in the Premier League, but if we perform at our maximum and play like we have done for the majority of the games this season, then there is no reason why we can't go there and get the result," Neil said at a news conference.