STOKE'S new management team admit to mixed feelings about Kenwyne Jones and his on-going commitments with Trinidad & Tobago in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the United States.
They are happy to see him doing well for his country after he scored to propel them to Saturday's quarter-final meeting with Mexico.
But they would be even happier if the powerhouse striker was back in the Potteries working with the rest of his club colleagues.
"Being new to the club and players, it would be better to have him here," said assistant manager Mark Bowen.
"But we know he will be match fit and raring to go when he does join up with us.
"I'm not sure how high the standard is over there, but we expect him to hit the ground running when he returns."
Defeat on Saturday will leave Jones linking up with new boss Mark Hughes during Stoke's tour to America next week, but victory could mean him missing the first three weeks of pre-season training.
Bowen is under no illusions about the kind of striker Stoke will be re-acquiring, while Jones can expect some one-on-one time with Hughes once back with the club.
Bowen said: "I think he is one of those who when he is right fitness-wise and mentally, he is a handful.
"It's about getting that consistency from him.
"If we are doing individual striker practice the manager will talk to myself and coach Eddie Niedzwiecki about what he would like us to do.
"He will also come in and give them tips and advice – and you'd like to think they would listen to Mark Hughes."
Meanwhile, Geoff Cameron has returned from extended leave following commitments with the United States.
"The early impression of Geoff is the same as with the other lads," said Bowen, "in that we have been surprised, if that is the right word, with their qualities and application."