LEE COOK is nowhere near the fabulous levels that saw the QPR winger sold to Fulham for £2m a year ago - and he's going to need another three games at least to regain some of that form.
Manager Iain Dowie's honest assessment of the fans' favourite comes after the ever-present Cookie ploughed through seven games this season - but has often looked a bit-player rather than the star attraction.
Cook is back from Fulham on a year-long loan after a barren spell in which he never pulled on a white shirt in a meaningful game, and his fourth boss in 14 months thinks he knows why.
Dowie said: "A year out when you've had a bad injury, will do for anyone's confidence.
"Lee's worked ever so hard in training - especially during the international break and he's gradually getting fitter and fitter,but it's going to take time.
"At the moment, anything up to 10 or 11 games might be needed."
Cook has yet to score in his second spell at Loftus Road, and suffered a knee injury this time last year needing corrective surgery after the first operation was found wanting.
Rangers have the option of buying back Cook from their neighbours - but the deal is dependent on what the dyed-in-the-wool Hoops' fan produces this season.
* HE SCORED twice for QPR in the 4-1 win over Southampton on Sunday - but the reason why striker Dexter Blackstock has bagged five goals already was a heart-to-heart with his boss before a ball had been kicked.
Dowie has always been known as a boss with very fit sides, and could see his striker was easily capable of upping the tempo in training.
"Some players are just game players - they're not interested in training as much," Dowie said. "But I told Dexter in pre-season he's got to train as he plays, and he's done that. He's intensive, and a striker wants to get 20 goals-a-season."