If there was a feud between Tony Mowbray and Curtis Davies last week, the two men in question are certainly concealing it well.
Fortunately, after West Bromwich Albion's 1-0 victory against Derby County on Saturday, a report of a bad blood between the two was far easier to deny.
Rumours persist, however, that Davies has not yet warmed to Mowbray's emancipated style of play, where Albion are creating more chances but conceding more goals.
If those concerns are true, it is easy to see why Davies, the Albion captain and central defender, was relieved with the victory against Derby. "A clean sheet and a win . . . I'll take that every time," he said.
But instead of being seen to enjoy the moment, Davies and Mowbray were obliged to react to suggestions that they are not on each other's Christmas-card list.
"Curtis and I have never had cross words," Mowbray said. "He isn't the sort of lad you need to have cross words with because he is a top professional who works hard and gets on with his job. He also enjoys the responsibility of being captain.
"I've got no problems with Curtis. He is just getting on as a young player trying to learn the game and develop his ability."
Neverless, Davies is Albion's prized asset — a player worth between five and ten million pounds, depending on your source — and any unsettling talk will inevitably lead to stories that the player will leave The Hawthorns next month.
Curtis is only 21 but already appears to have graduated, with honours, from the West Bromwich Albion University of News Management.
"I don't know where this [the report of a row with Mowbray] has come from," Davies said. "I have a very good working relationship with the manager and, as captain of the club, I certainly intend to keep it that way."
But Davies is a human being and he will have noticed, as we all have, the reports that at least six Premiership clubs are trying to sign him. He has, wisely, already turned down a move away from The Hawthorns, but Albion now need to sell before Mowbray can buy new players.
If Albion receive, say, #6 million for Davies, that could buy two or even three new players next month, allowing Mowbray to begin the task of creating a team in his own image.
Davies is a classy defender, in the Rio Ferdinand mould, and mature ahead of his years. But Albion are not short of competent central defenders. The return to the squad of Neil Clement on Saturday, after eight months out through injury, was a timely reminder of Albion's strength in depth.
And, of course, there is Paul McShane, who produced a superlative performance against Derby and is yet another example of how astute Bryan Robson was in the transfer market.
Clement has not started a match since Robson was manager but his arrival on Saturday, as a late substitute, provided a link between the Gary Megson era and the Mowbray era.
"It is greatto see Clem back," Davies said. "I asked him before the game, 'does it feel weird?' He said 'yes'. He was just sitting there like a little kid again, getting used to the atmosphere.
"After a few more games and a bit more training, Clem will be right up there challenging for a place in the team."
Whatever the frustrations at The Hawthorns, Mowbray at least has competition for places in all areas.
Diomansy Kamara will be suspended for the match away to Barnsley on Sunday but, as if by magic, his absence will be tempered by the return of Darren Carter.
Kamara has now earned himself five yellow cards and will miss the trip to Yorkshire. Carter has been out with a hamstring injury.
"We're hoping it [Carter's injury] is a slight tweak rather than a hamstring pull," Mowbray said. "That is what the first signs suggest. We would hope Darren might be back in training later this week."
The FA Cup draw was overshadowed by a full programme of matches but Mowbray noted with contentment a third-round match against Leeds United at The Hawthorns, probably on January 6.
As the manager of Hibernian, Mowbray led his teams to successive semi-final appearances in the Tennent's Scottish Cup.
"I'm pragmatic about cup draws," Mowbray said. "Whatever comes out of the hat, you've got to get on with it. It's a cliche but I'm delighted we're at home.
"We'll be up against a team that's in our division and going through a period of change and results pretty similar to ours."
Albion play Liverpool at The Hawthorns in the FA Youth Cup third round tomorrow night (7pm)
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