In an ideal world, Birmingham City would have no need to make Nicky Butt such an integral part of the squad. But the world is not ideal and Butt, the disgraced midfield player, could even play against Stoke City in the FA Cup fifth round tomorrow.
The former England international midfield player, halfway through a season-long loan from Newcastle United, was fined #80,000 this week after storming off after discovering that he would not be playing for Birmingham against West Ham United.
It was not Butt's wisest course of action.
Steve Bruce, the Birmingham manager, did not have a sense of humour over the issue and successfully extracted an apology from Butt. But Birmingham are so short of players that Butt will automatically make the squad, even though his performances in recent months have not warranted such fortune.
"I cannot cut my nose off to spite my face," Bruce said. "Nicky Butt is in the squad for Sunday. He has been dealt with. He has been punished and he has apologised. As far as I am concerned, the matter is closed.
"I'm not going to let it linger on. He will be involved in the squad for the FA Cup. With the injuries and all the rest of it, I cannot afford to leave him out. Nicky has got an important role to play and he might have an important role to play from now until the end of the season.
"He has got to handle the situation, simple as that, and he will do. To be honest, I've got more important things on the agenda by beating Stoke and winning the next three Premier League games if I can, and Nicky will be a part of it."
You can see it Bruce's face that these are not good times to be involved with Birmingham. Quite apart from the issue involving Butt, Birmingham are suffering such a chronic list of injuries that even selecting a 16-man squad for the match against Stoke is a problem.
It sums up a six-month period that has tested Bruce's resolve and patience.
"There has not been a second of the past six months that I have enjoyed," Bruce said. "It has been tough, that's for sure. But I will see this through. I am the best man for the job."
While the FA Cup is dominating Bruce's immediate thoughts, there is a battle to avoid relegation on the club's agenda. Realistically, two out of Birmingham, West Bromwich Albion and Portsmouth will go down into the Coca-Cola Championship.
"The hope is that we can drag another of the clubs above us into the battle to avoid relegation," Bruce said. "But the FA Cup can definitely help us in our bid to remain in the Premier League. A good run in the FA Cup gives you confidence for the Premier League.
"The FA Cup, if you reach the final, can give you glory but we want to remain in the Premier League because of the financial situation. That has to be the priority."