Perth Glory fans shouldn't expect to see James Meredith any time soon, with the A-League club to take a cautious approach with the fringe Socceroo.
Meredith joined Glory less than three weeks ago and the left back was a notable absentee from the club's season-opening 1-1 draw with Brisbane Roar last Sunday.
The 31-year-old left English Championship club Millwall at the end of last season and spent a few weeks trialling with Portsmouth before signing with Glory.
Perth coach Tony Popovic is delighted with his latest acquisition, but knows he will need to build up Meredith's fitness before unleashing him in games.
Popovic took the same approach with defender Matthew Spiranovic last season.
Spiranovic missed the first six rounds of the season before playing a key role in the club's Premiers Plate charge.
Popovic was reluctant to put a ball park figure on how many more weeks Meredith would need before he is match ready.
"I think he's still a bit away," Popovic said.
"He hasn't really done a pre-season. He's a good footballer, we know that. But he's going to take some time. His fitness isn't quite there.
"He's still adapting to playing in Australia and our playing style and his own physical condition, which wasn't good when he arrived, but we knew that.
"When he's right, he'll be a very good player for us."
Glory players were left devastated after conceding a 95th-minute equaliser against the Roar last Sunday.
Perth will get the chance to bounce back from that disappointment when they take on expansion club Western United at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday evening.
Glory will be boosted by the return of Ivan Franjic, who missed the draw against Brisbane because of suspension.
Western United started their A-League life with a 1-0 win over Wellington courtesy of a first-half strike from Besart Berisha.
Australian Associated Press