Axed striker Jay Bothroyd has responded to being dropped by Wolverhampton Wanderers in midweek by putting back himself back in line for an instant recall at bottom club Southend tomorrow.
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy reacted to a sub-par display from his mercurial striker against Sunderland last Friday night by leaving him out of the 16 against Crystal Palace on Tuesday night.
But, in managing a second successive 1-1 home draw, Wolves looked even more feeble up front without Bothroyd than they did with him. And, following Bothroyd's renewed efforts in training, McCarthy might be ready for another juggle of his front men, in the hope that Bothroyd can end a run of six games firing blanks by adding to his four goals for the season.
"I'm delighted with Jay's reaction and the way he has worked hard in training," said McCarthy. "And I told him so after Thursday morning's session.
"Nobody has the divine right to be in the team. Players with terrific ability should have first call but, for me, it's got to be bang on every time.
"It's black or white with me — no grey areas — and the players know that."
McCarthy attempted a similar tactic with the other half of his preferred first-choice strikeforce Jemal Johnson when he also dropped him from the 16 at the end of October and then used him only as a substitute for the next four games. But Johnson rewarded him last Friday night with a stunning goal on his recall against Roy Keane's Sunderland.
Whoever plays up front at Roots Hall, it is a great chance for Wolves, now down to 13th place, to put their promotion aspirations back on course by clocking up a first away win since Bothroyd's injury-time stunner at Leeds in September.
The Shrimpers have won just twice in 20 games this season while two goals from the unpredictable Leon Clarke and a Jody Craddock cracker earned Wolves a 3-1 win at Molineux just a month ago.