Fulham manager Martin Jol has held talks with Darren Bent over his role in the team and has suggested he may have to settle for being a substitute.
The Dutchman is reluctant to play Bent alongside first-choice striker Dimitar Berbatov after his decision to field them together against Cardiff City backfired in a recent home defeat.
Jol insists Bent, who is on loan from Aston Villa, will still have a major part to play this season.
“I have always tried to get my players confident. They always have a good season with me and Bent will have a good season with me,” said Jol.
“I’ve seen him a couple of times and spoken to him, and the conversation was private.
“It’s awful to tell players that they won’t start or that they won’t play but when I spoke to him I had to tell him a few nice things.
“I said it would be awful if I don’t use him in a proper way and he will be a good part of things this season. He has been a good part already.
“He knows what my intentions are, but it is not my intention to play Berbatov and Bent [together], I have to be honest.”
Bent, 29, netted the winner against Stoke on Saturday and has made seven appearances since his arrival at Craven Cottage.
He has scored three goals – all of them coming after he has come off the bench – and Fulham have lost all four matches he has started.
“Sometimes he can’t start,” Jol admitted.
“I was very happy with Bent coming on in the Stoke game. It’s great to have someone like Darren to come off the bench.
“My intentions are still to use Darren, and to get the best out of both him and Berbatov, but it’s not easy because you need time to work on that system.”