Bryan Robson has emphasised to sidelined skipper Kevin Campbell what a big part he still has to play at West Bromwich Albion by turning down a bid from neighbours Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Wolves manager Glenn Hoddle had hoped to take the vastly experienced Campbell on loan, as a stand-in while strike pair Kenny Miller and Carl Cort recover from injury.
But Robson knocked back Wolves' cheeky request by insisting: "Cams is too important to us."
And the Albion manager has the same message for any club looking to take his other thirtysomething striker, Geoff Horsfield, off his hands.
With the African Nations Cup just around the corner in January, when Albion are expected to lose Kanu to Nigeria and Diomansy Kamara to Senegal, Robson has made it clear he will need all hands on deck.
Even when he signed Nathan Ellington for £3 million in late August to take the number of potential frontline selections to six, Robson insisted all would have a role to play at some stage of the season and he sticks to that belief.
Campbell has been hampered by a niggling ankle injury for almost two months, which has limited his firstteam involvement to just two substitute appearances in Albion's last six games. Despite the fact that he scored the last of his three Albion goals in early March, Robson has not forgotten just what Campbell did for the Baggies last season.
With his nous, drive and bubbly spirit, Campbell proved an inspirational figure at The Hawthorns from the moment that he arrived on a free transfer from Everton during the January transfer window. The Albion boss insists he can again become a key figure if he shakes off his current injury problems.
"'Cams is too important around the club for me to allow him out on loan," said Robson. "I know he's had injury problems and hasn't played a major part in my recent team selections but both he and Geoff Horsfield will be major players when they have recovered from the knocks they've had.
"In January, we're going to be losing Kamara and Kanu for up to five or six weeks, so all my strikers have got really important roles to play."
Horsfield started Saturday's confidence-boosting 4-0 victory over Everton, only to limp off with a calf problem. But Robson is still hopeful that the former Birmingham man will be fit for Sunday's trip to Middlesbrough, when the Albion boss makes another nostalgic journey back to the Riverside.
After losing to Boro in his first game in charge at The Hawthorns last season, Robson's first return to the club following his end-of-season sacking in 2001 did not prove a happy one, Albion losing 4-0.
It was a result that appeared to have pointed Robson's men in the direction of the Championship but they then lost one of their last four matches to stay up in such dramatic style and a 4-0 win of their own last weekend has indicated that they might make a better fist of avoiding relegation next May.
It will still be tough for Robson's men back in the north-east but they do at least have the advantage of staying fresher than a busy Boro side who were in Holland last night for their latest Uefa Cup group game, a 0-0 draw with AZ Alkmaar. They also have one of the freshest faces in the Premiership itching to start on Sunday in Ellington.
The £3 million August signing from Wigan put behind him two months of injury-related frustration when he netted his first two Premiership goals last weekend - just days after becoming a father for the first time. He wants the chance to stay on cloud nine.
"Being a father was an experience I wouldn't trade for anything," he said. "But now my first aim is just to try to stay in the Albion team and score some more goals.
"Last week was only my second league start. l always knew it might take time to get my feet under the table in my first season, especially as the shoulder injury I had to sort out didn't allow me to get much pre-season training and I've had a few little niggling injuries which have taken longer than I thought.
"It's a little bit awkward when you join a new club but it has been good having another new player in Curtis Davies to help me settle in. I now feel part of it and I was always confident I'd score once I'd had some starts."