Emile Heskey is set to undergo an X-ray today after the Jason Euelll transfer saga took a new twist with Steve Bruce, the Birmingham City manager, contemplating other options.
A fee of £1.5 million was reported to have been agreed between Blues and Charlton Athletic and, with only personal terms to tie up, Euell looked set to link up with Bruce by the end of the week.
However, an injury to Heskey has forced Bruce to look at other options, which could include Rangers' Peter Lovenkrands or Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, of Middlesbrough.
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If Heskey's knee injury is serious Bruce will be presented with a problem as his strike force will be severely depleted.
Bruce was anticipating using Euell in an attacking midfield role but it looks as though any decision will be dependent on the severity of Heskey's injury.
Bruce said yesterday: "We haven't got a lot of money in the coffers. Jason Euell is one that we are interested in but we must bring in the right person. We will see what develops, as we need to keep our options open.
"Emile took a knock to the knee during the game at Charlton and he will undergo an X-ray today."
Birmingham are six points adrift of safety and the need to add a proven goalscoer to his squad is of paramount importance for Bruce.
Eric Black visited Fir Park on Sunday where he saw Lovenkrands score his tenth goal in eight games for Rangers as they beat Motherwell 1-0.
The 26-year-old is out of contract in the summer and Birmingham are monitoring the situation closely despite the claims of Alex McLeish, the Rangers manager, that he is not for sale.
Another option could be a short-term move for Hasselbaink, who is also a target of West Bromwich Albion.
Reports emanating from London suggest that Middlesbrough have entered the race to sign Euell and, while their transfer kitty is empty, substantial funds would be cleared if Hasselbaink was allowed to leave.
However, despite all the transfer shenanigans, Bruce has an FA Cup replay to contend with tonight. He remains a real romantic regarding FA Cup stories but is determined to play party-pooper where Torquay are concerned.
Nineteen hundred Torquay fans will decamp from the English Riviera in the belief that their team - third from bottom in the Football League - can spring a surprise at St Andrew's.
Bruce was once a wannabee giant-killer himself as Gillingham took the 1984 FA Cup winners Everton to a second replay in the fourth round. Two goalless draws preceded Everton's 3-0 triumph but Bruce's performance was the catalyst for his summer move to Norwich where his career blossomed.
As a boyhood Newcastle fan, he would have watched in horror as they were beaten at non-League Hereford courtesy of Ronnie Radford's famous goal.
However, Bruce appears to be one of a dying breed as the grand old lady of tournaments is in danger of becoming a second-class citizen.
A host of Premiership clubs have it well down their list of priorities while others treat it as an annoyance, interfering with their Premiership cash-cow. Yet Bruce still views the tournament in exactly the same fashion as 1,900 Devonians will, through rose-tinted spectacles.
"We are lucky to be in the FA Cup," Bruce said, referring to his team's goalless draw at Torquay ten days previously.
"Torquay played well and we will be putting out a strong team, as we want to progress in the tournament if we can.
"It will be a far, far better performance than we saw at Plainmoor, but that wouldn't be hard. As soon as I saw we had drawn Torquay and you saw the pitch and the small stadium, then you knew were in for a tough afternoon.
"What you must do is score and take the game by the scruff of the neck, but we didn't do that.
While Bruce lambasted his team over their performance at Torquay, his love affair was soon rekindled when he returned to the comfort of his own home.
Rather than stew on Birmingham's problems, the travails of other behemoths enabled him to take a more considered view.
"I got home and saw Middlesbrough against Nuneaton on the television and it just reiterates what a fantastic competition this is.
"Although, that isn't the case when you are a manager sitting there thinking 'Oh my God, this is all I need!"
"We saw it the next day as well and it gave me a little bit
of heart as Clyde beat Celtic, Burton drew with Manchester United and Leicester turned over Tottenham.
"That is the beauty of the FA Cup. Those things don't happen anywhere else apart from in this country. You don't get non-league teams taking on Barcelona and getting a draw in Spain."
"The sad thing for me is that there are empty seats all around the stadiums. It used to be packed houses, but I don't know what can be done to get the supporters back."
Bruce will also be keen for a victory to build on their excellent performance at Charlton last Saturday.
Another away defeat left them six points adrift, but Bruce was enthused by his side's performance, especially debutant Chris Sutton.
Home supporters will see their first glimpse of Sutton this evening and Bruce will be optimistic his arrival, and a better performance can quieten Torquay's bombast.
Manager Leroy Rosenior and chairman Mike Bateson have both stated their belief that Torquay can win and progress to the fourth round.
However, they lost 3-2 at Bury on Saturday and remain in serious danger of dropping into the Conference.