Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has played down speculation that striker Chris Sutton's career could be in jeopardy because of his current eye problem.
Sutton, who is suffering from blurred vision, is due to see a specialist in the next 24 hours in the hope of being given the go-ahead for a return to training.
The 33-year-old has been sidelined since the home Premiership clash with Manchester United two days before Christmas.
But O'Neill is keen to keep an open mind on Sutton's future.
O'Neill said: 'There is improvement and we were all hoping at some stage that the blurred vision would go away or disappear rapidly.
'That hasn't happened, but I think Chris wants to start doing some work on a non-contact basis to build up his fitness. He's going to see what the specialist says.
'It's a shame for him, but I wouldn't be jumping to conclusions about his season being finished or even his slightly longer-term future being in doubt. We'll wait and see.'