Birmingham defender Scott Dann has admitted he is unlikely to return to action from a torn hamstring before the end of the season.
The 24-year-old picked up the injury in the 2-1 Carling Cup semi-final first-leg defeat at West Ham on 11 January.
He is due to step up his rehabilitation in the next few days with a view to returning to full training next month.
"All being well, I will be training before the end of the season, but it may be too soon to play," said Dann.
"It's going well at the minute. I am in the gym doing a lot of strengthening work, building my muscles back up, and I hope to start running next week.
"This is the longest I have been out but it has gone quicker than I thought it was going to.
"The physios have helped me a lot and it's about getting it right from now on and not rushing and making sure I come back stronger.
"If everything goes to plan I will be back training in early May.
"But, when you have been out for so long, you need to train for a couple of weeks then get your match fitness back. In the position we are in the players need to be right on their mettle."
The loss of Dann, who has formed an impressive partnership with Roger Johnson at the heart of the Birmingham defence since joining from Coventry in June 2009, was a big blow to the Midlands club.
In Dann's absence Czech international defender Martin Jiranek has stepped in and earned praise for his performances from City boss Alex McLeish.
The 31-year-old signed a one-year deal at St Andrews when moving from Spartak Moscow in the summer but has decided to put talks over a new deal on hold until the end of the season.
"I would prefer not to discuss it at the moment because I would like to concentrate on the remaining fixtures and we still have some difficult games to play," he said.
"When the season is finished, we can come back to the subject."