Reading manager Brian McDermott has told BBC Radio Berkshire that it is important that Matej Vydra is available for Saturday's FA Cup tie against West Bromwich Albion, but that he will not put the striker's long-term fitness at risk by rushing him back early.
Vydra missed last weekend's goalless draw at home to Burnley in the Championship with a hamstring problem. However could return against the club where he spent the 2013-14 campaign on loan.
The Czech Republic international has scored just two league goals since arriving on loan from Watford in September, but has excelled in the FA Cup, finding the net six times in half as many matches.
The 23-year-old has been on target in each of the Royals' fixtures in this season's competition, hitting a hat-trick in their third round replay success at Huddersfield and adding a brace in the following round's win against Walsall.
"It's important that he's available, but we have to look after him," McDermott told BBC Radio Berkshire.
"If there's any doubt at all, we can't put Matej at risk."
"Even if he's only involved from the bench, it will be a real plus for us.
"He hasn't trained for a while, so we will have to make the right call on him."
Vydra scored three goals in 25 outings for the Baggies while on loan from Udinese, but managed 38 goals in 93 appearances for Watford either side and remains a very effective option up front.