The vagaries of the fixture list have given Milan Baros an extra two days in which to prove his fitness to play for Aston Villa away to Manchester City on Monday.
The Czech Republic international striker has not played for Villa since the 8-3 victory away to Wycombe Wanderers on September 20 because of an Achilles injury. However, he has represented his country, a situation that angered Villa.
David O'Leary, the Villa manager, was was livid when he discovered that the Czech Republic medical team gave the player a cortisone injection, which allowed Baros to play in the World Cup qualifying match against Holland. Villa were not consulted.
Baros, however, is back in training and could make the match against City because it has been switched to Monday rather than Saturday. This gives Baros extra time to gain fitness.
Roy Aitken, O'Leary's assistant, said: "We've got a little break until Monday and we are very hopeful that between now and then we will have two or three more players back in amongst it including Milan Baros.
"Baros is into some light training. We will look at him between now and the weekend and see how he is. If he is fine he will push on Saturday and Sunday with a view to the game on Monday."
Aaron Hughes, the Villa right back, is expected to be available for the match against City after missing Carling Cup match against Burnley on Tuesday night with a slight reaction to the hernia problem.
"Aaron was more or less rested against Burnley," Aitken said. "He had a little reaction because he came back quickly after his operation and he had played a couple of tough games.
"The manager felt it was best to rest him in midweek and let it settle down a little bit. We are very hopeful he will be available for Monday."
O'Leary can see light at the end of the tunnel.
His squad has been decimated because of injuries but, slowly, the squad is becoming close to full strength. Gavin McCann, the central midfield player, and Mark Delaney, the Wales international right back, completed 90 minutes against Burnley after each overcoming knee injuries.
Aitken said: "Gavin is so important for us in the middle of the park because we do like to go forward and he gives us that little bit of security in there.
"Mark also had a steady game. He has been out for a long time. I was pleased for him as well. Mark and Gavin are two very important members of our squad."
They played a significant part in the 1-0 victory, which came thanks to a first-half goal by Kevin Phillips.
Roy Aitken paid tribute to Kevin Phillips as the striker paid back another slice of his £750,000 transfer fee. Already that fee looks like representing the bargain buy of the summer.
"Kevin Phillips is a goalscorer," Aitken said, stating the obvious. "That is what we have brought him here to do. He is a match-winner isn't he? It is great to have someone like Kevin in the team.
"He scored the winner against Birmingham City the other week and he has won us this game as well. That makes the difference. That's why your strikers are so important to you. With Kevin in those situations, nine times out of ten it will produce a goal."
The other big plus point for Villa, beaten 3-1 by Burnley in this competition last season, was midfielder Gavin McCann and defender Mark Delaney completing 90 minutes action after lengthy layoffs with respective knee problems.
Olof Mellberg, the Villa captain, says that cup success offers the best chance of a route into Europe after Villa's below-par start to the season in the Premiership.
"I can't say the cups are more important than the league," Mellberg said. "We are down there in the league and we have to improve and that's obviously a priority now.
"But before the season we were talking about Europe and it looks like at the moment one of the cups is our best chance. In that aspect the cups are more important when you are down there."