Jarryd Hayne is inching closer to an NRL return as Parramatta fight for their pride over the second half of the NRL season.
Hayne will once again be missing from the Eels side which will take on Newcastle in a battle of two sides low on form and luck at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
After he was originally pencilled in to return from a hip flexor injury against the Knights, coach Brad Arthur said he was now targeting next week's clash with North Queensland in Darwin.
Hayne has played just four games this year due to a series of injuries and missed the last five weeks because of his latest complaint.
"I know I was confident last week so hopefully a week," Arthur said when asked when Hayne would return.
"He's close but you don't want him to come back and play one game (and reaggravate the injury). So you've got to make sure he's one hundred per cent right.
"That gives him a good opportunity to get some games under his belt, get some consistency and then see what he's got to offer from there."
Prop Nathan Brown (ankle) has been named as 18th man and could take on the Knights on Saturday.
And the Eels are set to receive an injection of class and experience next week with Corey Norman (foot) and Tim Mannah (eye) all set to face the Cowboys as well.
Hayne's one-year contract with the Eels expires at the end of the year and Arthur said the club had put talks on hold as they concentrate on digging themselves out of their miserable 2-10 start.
Saturday's clash will be unaffected by Origin with neither side providing any players for Queensland or NSW - the first time since 1990 that the Knights have not had an Origin representative.
Eels officials are predicting a crowd of more than 10,000 on Saturday night but with rain forecast and both sides struggling, it remains to be seen whether they can get that many through the gate.
The Knights are coming off a 48-10 flogging at the hands of Cronulla while the Eels have lost their last four straight.
"It's just as important as last week and the week before that," Arthur said.
"I know the situation about whether we're a chance of making the finals and all that. But as a footy team and as professional athletes, we want to win all the time.
"We're on top of a lot of things in our game. It's the same old story for us - there are some big moments that are hurting us and chunks of periods that are hurting us."
STATS THAT MATTER
* The Eels' two wins from their first 12 matches this season is their worst start since 2012.
* Newcastle's defence has been letting them down this season as they concede the most points per game (28.5), tries per game (4.8) and metres per game (1469).