Robinho is winning his daily fight for fitness, but Mark Hughes has warned his football-starved Brazil star not to risk rushing back from his stress fracture injury.
Robinho has been out of action since being on the bench for the 1-0 win at Portsmouth in August and has targeted the Carling Cup tie with Scunthorpe next Wednesday for his comeback.
Manager Hughes said: "He loves playing football of course, but it's part of being a professional footballer sometimes that you have to work at getting back to the level required.
"You have to have a different mindset to get the work done - you're coming in when the other players are on a day off, and it can be hard getting back over a longer period than a few days.
"There is a possibility that Robi will be on the bench for Scunthorpe, but it might be a bit soon and I don't like to throw players in before they've had games in training or in the reserves.
"We had to throw Vinnie Kompany in because of the circumstances but ideally he'd have had more time, and with the options we've got we can afford to give Robi some more time."
Hughes gives Craig Bellamy a fighting chance of returning for Sunday's home game against Fulham after the Wales striker missed the 1-1 draw at Wigan with a groin strain.
He said: "He's been working with the physios and he's done OK, he'll be back in training with the group on Friday with a view to him being available for selection at the weekend."
Skipper Kolo Toure is resuming light training and "hopeful" after his heel injury, while Manu Adebayor is progressing following a precautionary scan on a slight ligament strain.