Stoke boss Mark Hughes has sounded a note of caution regarding Bojan Krkic's return to action.
Potters forward Bojan, whose 2014-15 campaign was brought to an end in January by a knee injury, continued his rehabilitation on Sunday as he made his first start of pre-season in a friendly clash with Porto.
The 24-year-old Spaniard looked comfortable in completing just over an hour of the match and Hughes is happy with the progress being made - but the manager is eager to avoid rushing Bojan at all.
"It was good to give him a decent run-out because that's what he now needs," Hughes told stokecityfc.com.
"It's important that he gets game time, not just to boost his fitness levels but for his confidence as well.
"It's obvious at the moment that he is not quite there yet and he understands that.
"With the progress he is making then he will get there very soon, but it's one of those things that will certainly take a bit of time.
"He is training every day with the rest of the group now so we will continue to be patient with him and hopefully get him back sooner rather than later."
Hughes has also revealed Stoke skipper Ryan Shawcross will see a specialist this week regarding his back issue.
The defender has struggled to fully recover from the problem he picked up in the second half of last season.
Hughes said: "Obviously it isn't resolving itself so he will see a specialist early this week and hopefully we can gain more information following that meeting.
"He hasn't had too much game time and he has been struggling in training also, so we need to get it sorted once and for all."
Stoke open their 2015-16 Barclays Premier League campaign by hosting Liverpool on Sunday.