Stoke City boss Tony Pulis has hinted there's no way back for striker James Beattie.
The 32-year-old former England forward has not played for seven weeks due to a knee injury which required surgery.
He played a full 90 minutes for the reserves earlier this week but Pulis is still unlikely to include him in his squad for Sunday's Barclays Premier League trip to Wolves.
With a fitness doubt over striker Ricardo Fuller, that will do little to quell speculation over Beattie's future at the Britannia Stadium.
That has seemed uncertain since a high-profile row between the player and Pulis in the dressing room at Arsenal last December.
Pulis said: "He played in a reserve game on Tuesday and looked a little bit short to be honest.
"The lad Louis Moult has been on the bench. If Ric is not fit I will most probably go with Louis.
"He has done really well and scored a lot of goals in the reserves and did well again the other night."