Bryan Robson has given every indication that Robert Earnshaw remains an important part of the future with West Bromwich Albion.
But that has not stopped Wigan Athletic from trying to sign the striker.
Speculation persists that Earnshaw, the Wales international, will soon move on now that Albion enjoy an embarrassment of riches up front but Robson is happy to keep hold of his six strikers at least until the January transfer window.
Robson, the Albion manager, signed Nathan Ellington from Wigan Athletic for £3 million last week, fuelling speculation that Earnshaw would move in the opposite direction. Robson, however, wants to strengthen rather than weaken his squad.
"Paul Jewell [Wigan manager] made an enquiry for Earnie and I told him he wasn't available," Robson said. "I've spoken to Rob and told him what my plans are and where I see him."
Jewell expressed disappointment that a swap deal did not materialise, saying: "Bryan Robson rang me and asked about Nathan and would we be interested in doing something with Earnshaw. I said 'yes, we would do if he was going', but now they [Albion] do not want to sell him."
Earnshaw emerged as a second-half substitute during Albion's 2-1 victory at home to Portsmouth last Saturday and will be hoping for a place in the starting line-up for the match at Chelsea tomorrow night.
That, however, is unlikely. Robson is sure to keep it tight against the Premiership champions and will probably opt for a line-up not too dissimilar to that which drew 0-0 away to Manchester City on August 13, possibly with Nwankwo Kanu up front.
Still, Earnshaw's attitude has improved in recent months and he seems willing to accept that being one of six strikers does have advantages.
Robson said: "To be fair to Rob, I think he found it really difficult at times being a sub last season because he'd always been used to being in the team at Cardiff without really having to fight for his place.
"But Earnie saw Kevin Campbell, Geoff Horsfield and Kanu's attitude around the place when they weren't in the starting XI last season and he's taken that on board.
"He's more accepting of it, even though he's disappointed when he doesn't always start. On Saturday [against Portsmouth], he was bright and bubbly around the dressingroom before the game and I thought that showed when he came on.
"He was really sharp and could have scored himself a goal. That's the kind of attitude and atmosphere I want around the place."
Robson has also confirmed that Horsfield, who scored both goals against Portsmouth, has a long-term future at The Hawthorns.
In addition to Earnsaw and Horsfield, Robson also has Kevin Campbell, Kanu, Ellington and Diomansy Kamara all fighting for places up front - as many senior strikers as Birmingham City and Aston Villa put together.
Horsfield was left out of the 16 for the opening game against Manchester City but made amends with a fine display against Portsmouth. Robson has hinted that he will make changes against Chelsea as he looks to rotate his squad to deal with playing three games in seven days.
He said: "Only time will tell whether Geoff is playing on Wednesday. He was terrific on Saturday, and not just because he scored the two goals. His workrate, hold-up play and the way he brought people into the game was excellent.
"It is a fact that after he has got most teams promoted that he has been with, Geoff has been moved on by that club. But I've spoken to him and told him he will not be moved on from this club, not while I am manager.
"With his past record in that department, maybe it was no wonder that he said he feared for his future but he has a big part to play here."
Frank Lampard, the Chelsea midfield player, is expecting a difficult match against Albion, especially after his team's less-than-convincing start to the season.
Jos> Mourinho's team defeated Wigan Athletic 1-0 on August 13 and then Arsenal 1-0 a week later.
Didier Drogba scored the fortuitous winner against Arsenal with 18 minutes left and Lampard said: "It's three points and there's a long way to go. There's lots of games, we have a tough one against West Brom in midweek. You have to look at the two games - Hern?n Crespo came on and won it last week, Didier this week - and it's a testament to the whole squad."