John Hartson is likely to remain with West Bromwich Albion, at least until the remainder of the season and possibly beyond.
The Wales striker returned to the starting line-up for the match away to Colchester United, having been left out for the previous five matches. He acquitted himself well but was replaced in the 76th minute by Sherjill MacDonald as Albion secured a significant 2-1 victory.
Hartson has made no secret of his desire to play regular first-team football but also understands that Albion's form in his absence has been impressive.
Whether with or without Hartson, Albion have lost only one of their past 15 matches and have gained such a momentum that they appear to have all the attributes necessary to gain automatic promotion.
A number of clubs, including Swansea City, have inquired as to the availability of Hartson but Tony Mowbray, the Albion manager, is keen to keep the striker for the time being.
Hartson has scored five goals in 20 Coca-Cola Championship matches since joining the club from Celtic last summer. Two of those goals came on his debut, against Hull City, on the opening day of the season.
Mowbray rates the player highly but, with Diomansy Kamara and Kevin Phillips in such fine form and MacDonald also available, finding a place in the starting line-up for Hartson is easier said than done.
"John played for us on Tuesday at Colchester and did exceptionally well," Mowbray said. "He is still very much part of our plans.
"I’d like to think I’ve got a good relationship with John whereby if there’s anything which is right for John and right for our football club, we will discuss it.
"At the moment, he is very much part of our plans and is getting on with it and playing a part in us trying to win games.
"Yes, I had a chat with a few clubs about John. At this moment, I’m happy John is here, John is happy that he is here and contributing and hopefully he will have a part to play in the remaining 13 league games.
"Neither party is particularly looking to make a move. The bottom line is that John likes to play. His talent deserves to be on the field playing football and I understand that.
"He has a contract here and I will utilise his qualities and his strengths when I feel it is right for the team. John understands that and he is fully behind that, so we do not have a problem."
Hartson's experience and ability to hold the ball could prove to be important to Albion, with the most important stage of the season to come. Mowbray also needs strength in depth to deal with injuries and suspensions. Hartson has a desire to one day play for Swansea but believes he is still of Premiership standard and might even return to the top flight with Albion.
It is likely, however, that Hartson will leave in the summer, with MacDonald signing full-time.