Duncan Watmore will miss Saturday's clash with Accrington Stanley, but Jack Ross says he has had no adverse reaction to his Sunderland return.
Watmore played 67 minutes on Tuesday night as the Black Cats beat Notts County 2-0 in the Checkatrade Trophy, with the forward playing a key part in the opening goal.
The 24-year-old is 'pretty much there' in his recovery from a second ACL injury, but Ross is eager not to mess with the planning that has so far delivered encouraging results.
That means he is likely to be next seen in first team action when Walsall visit the Stadium of Light next Tuesday.
Clear that hurdle and a league return will likely be imminent.
"No, he won't be involved at Accrington," Ross said.
"But that always planned.
"He's had no adverse reaction to Tuesday. Mentally he feels brilliant, physically, a bit stiff as you can imagine.
"The plan was always for him to be involved in the Notts County game and then we would look at him at the beginning of next week, potentially for the cup replay.
"It's actually really good that it's worked out this way, and then we start to build up to Bristol Rovers," Ross said.
"We've remained steadfastly true to our plans with Duncan and we'll keep doing that.
"It's worked really well so far and hopefully it will continue to."
Lee Cattermole is also set to return for the FA Cup replay next week, with Saturday's game coming too soon for the infliential midfielder.
Ross is hopeful that will be able to call on the services of George Honeyman and Chris Maguire, who both took part in full training on Thursday.