Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez has offered John Terry no assurances he will be handed back his starting spot despite the club captain close to overcoming his injury nightmare.
Terry sustained a knee injury at Liverpool and has been seen only fleeting in a blue jersey, making only two starts and one appearance under the Spanish coach and was last spotted patrolling the sidelines as unused substitute in the club's last-32 Europa league victory over Sparta Prague.
But the 32-year-old is expected to make a rare start in Sunday's FA Cup fourth-round replay with Brentford.
But despite giving Terry the chance to prove his fitness, Benitez stopped short of guaranteeing him a starting spot should he complete the match unscathed.
"He has to train normally three, four training sessions to be ready for the games," said Benitez. "Then if the others are playing well he has to compete (for selection)."
"If he's fine, after we have to manage the other things. The main thing is if he can train every day he can be ready for every game. After we will see.
"We now have four options at centre back. We have Terry, David, any of them they can complement (each other) really well.
"The good thing is we have now Cahill and Ivanovic playing well and also David Luiz as an option.
"If everything is fine, they have to compete. If something is wrong we have different options.
"All the players, they know, that at this level when you play so many games you have to train and you have to keep fit.
"It's not a question of 'no, I can carry on and play' and after not train. Everybody knows they have to compete and everybody knows we have good players now."
Held to a 2-2 draw by Brentford at Griffin Park, Benitez said his squad had properly prepared for the match, but admitted there would be few 'surprises' in facing the League One club.
"Because we have seen them we know now what we can expect. I think that it will not be a surprise for anyone," he said. "In a cup competition that you know you cannot make mistakes. It's important to be sure that you approach the game without any complacency.
"From the first minute you have to concentrate and do the right things."
Information from the Press Association was used in this report.