The Sunderland striker damaged his ankle ligaments just minutes into Strachan's competitive debut against Wales in March, and the manager was clearly given little encouragement by his club side to rush the £12 million player into a return for last week's double-header against Belgium and Macedonia.
As well as the likes of Steven Naismith and Leigh Griffiths have done in his absence, and as much as Sunderland may want to ease their player gently into consistent first- team action, Strachan admitted that Fletcher, if fit, will be almost impossible to leave out.
"I'll keep an eye on Steven, see what he's up to," Strachan said. "But do you really need to look at Steven Fletcher? I think Steven Fletcher is one of these players who, if he's breathing alright, you've got to get in the squad. I can't see him not being in the squad if he's playing for Sunderland in the Premier League. If Steven is fit then he will be selected, that's for sure."
The Scotland manager was reflecting on the 2-1 victory against Macedonia on Tuesday night which confirmed the progress his squad is making, but admitted that Belgium and Croatia are so strong that qualification would still be a tall order even if he was allowed to start again now.
"It would still be difficult," he said. "Croatia were No 4 in the world when we beat them and Belgium can't be far away from that [Croatia are currently eighth and Belgium 10th] - they are two magnificent sides.
"I think we would collect more points, but it would be very hard to get near those two. Very hard. But on the plane going out to Macedonia we did a list of players, then we did another one on the plane back and there were a couple added to the positives."
After Croatia, England, Belgium and Croatia, the theme of meetings with the best sides world football has to offer will continue in November when the USA - now ranked a lofty 13th, the biggest climbers in the top 20 over the past month - arrive at Hampden on a date set aside for the World Cup play-offs.
Jurgen Klinsmann's side beat the Scots 5-1 in Jacksonville last summer, but Strachan will hope for revenge - with a further away match the following Tuesday against European opponents set to be firmed up.
"You have to try to get a friendly that can turn the players, fans, media, coaches on, especially during the season when it's hard work around November," said Strachan. "You have to make it attractive to everyone. We're competitive animals and like big games. If that's not there, that's a problem, I think. But I think they fit the bill. They have been a good standard over the years."
Strachan will be an interested spectator on Wednesday night when Celtic begin their Champions League group stage campaign against AC Milan in the San Siro. It repeats a 2007 fixture which saw Strachan's Celtic side lose by virtue of an extra-time goal from Kaka in a two-legged last-16 encounter, in a year when the Italians went on to win the tournament. The Brazilian is back in Milan colours this season, but Strachan admits that no longer can the Rossoneri boast the same household names.
"I couldn't tell you who even plays for them now - I'll have to do a bit of homework!" he joked. "But obviously Kaka has gone back. When we played them in the last 16, the system was built to suit him to float about and pick up the ball and counter attack, which worked when he scored against us to knock us out in extra time.
"But they also had Inzaghi, Seedorf and Gattuso - that was a good, good side. They played a 4-4-1-1 with Inzaghi up front and they were very professional."