West Bromwich Albion have made it clear that Geoff Horsfield will not be returning to The Hawthorns despite his reported bust-up with Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock.
Horsfield has registered his unhappiness at having only started one game out of a possible five for Warnock since his loan move from Albion five weeks ago.
And the Blades yesterday responded to Horsfield's frank exchange of views with Warnock by announcing on their own club website that it had been "mutually agreed to investigate ways of terminating his current loan agreement with West Bromwich Albion".
But the Baggies have been quick to point out that Hors-field is now a Sheffield United player - for keeps.
Not only is there a binding contract tying Horsfield to Bramall Lane until the end of the season, but it also commits them to signing the 32-year-old striker for #1 million in the summer, a deal that was then supposed to net Albion a further #250,000, subject to performance-related add-ons.
Albion have also taken the opportunity to remind the football world that the Hors-field sale was concluded on February 13 only on the basis that the proposed transfer fee would fund the #1.2 million signing of Southampton's Nigel Quashie.
"West Bromwich Albion have a done deal with Sheffield United regarding Geoff Horsfield, "read a club statement. "That covers the striker's loan until the end of the season and his permanent transfer - for an already agreed fee - on July 1. And that deal will stand unless Sheffield United can find an alternative club to take on their responsibilities."
Horsfield has become a victim of the under-pressure Warnock's penchant for strikers, at a time when the Blades' hopes of automatic promotion are fading.
The former Birmingham City favourite moved back to his native Yorkshire last month due to his lack of chances since scoring four goals in Albion's first three games of the season. And, although a deal was agreed with the Blades in January, it was not until Nwankwo Kanu and Diomansy Kamara had returned from African Nations Cup duty that he was allowed to leave. But Horsfield faces even more competition for places at Bramall Lane.
Meanwhile, one of the costrikers Horsfield left behind at The Hawthorns, fellow-Yorkshireman Nathan Ellington, has been earmarked to return to the Albion starting line-up at White Hart Lane on Monday night.
After ending a three and a half month goal drought when he came off the bench to score against Birmingham City ten days ago, Ellington again performed a 'Supersub' role in Saturday's 2-1 home defeat to Manchester United to take his tally to eight for the season.
And Albion's assistant manager Nigel Pearson has hinted that Bryan Robson could be ready to restore the partnership between Ellington and Kanu that was start-ing to look so promising back in the autumn.
"He has pushed his case, we have spoken about possibilities of starting line ups and he's done enough to warrant serious consideration for a starting position," said Pearson.
"I'm not saying he is going to get one, but Nathan thrives on goals. Now he has scored a couple it is higher and that is good for us.
"Most strikers are confidence players. And, when Nathan hits a vein of form, he is going to be a big asset.
"I'm sure he'll have a big part to play between now and the end of the season.
"We haven't got big numbers for the latter part of the season. We need players who come into form and we need to get the selection right.
"But his partnership with Kanu was effective earlier in the season and when we put them on as subs against Birmingham they linked up pretty well straight away and again on Saturday. There were some good aspects."
While the inclusion of former Arsenal striker Kanu is an absolute must on Monday night, given the quality performances he always turns in against Spurs, Pearson has issued another reminder to Jonathan Greening that he needs a drastic upturn in his strikerate.
"Greening has been excellent," said Pearson. "He looks a lot stronger this year and his level of performance has been consistently high.
"We need him to maintain that between now and the end of the season. But the only thing he is lacking is more goals."