Steve Bruce will be back on his prayer mat this morning willing Matthew Upson to fitness after the Birmingham City defender revealed today was 'make-or-break' in his quest to play against Sunderland on Saturday.
Upson sustained a groin injury against Arsenal 18 days ago and his presence at the heart of Blues' defence was sorely missed as they were ripped to shreds by West Ham United.
With Birmingham's treatment room continually bursting at the seams, Upson's prolonged absence is a headache manager Bruce could do without.
Saturday's clash with Sunderland is of seismic importance and anything other then three points against Mick McCarthy's strugglers could prove terminal for Blues' ambitions to retain Premiership status.
The availability of England international Upson is critical to their chances, but, speaking at the launch of the first FA Accredited Online Course Provider at Solihull College yesterday, he confessed his return was still in doubt.
"I couldn't honestly answer whether or not I am going to play," he said. "Tomorrow (Wednesday) is going to be make-or-break day.
"I am optimistic I will be involved as I did some running today and I need to see how it reacts on Wednesday.
"If it reacts kindly then I can push on for Saturday. If not, I have got to take a step back, get home, put my feet up and get the ice on it.
"My groin injury is recovering. It was an overuse injury. I had a bit of a blocked pelvis, which has related into muscle soreness. It isn't a big issue, though, as I just need it to settle down."
Upson has had to contend with a plethora of problems during Birmingham's wretched campaign, but he contends he is approaching the peak of his playing powers.
Constant transfer speculation, a veritable array of different central defensive partners and being left out of Sven-Goran Eriksson's England squad are just a smattering of Upson's travails this term. Then there is the constant stress of seeing your club in the relegation zone.
But the 26-year-old's level of performance over the campaign has been comparable with any other first-team player at the club and he has devised his own method of dealing with the pressure.
"It is tough mentally if you allow it to be. I think you need to be single-minded and focus on yourself," said Upson. "If you are not careful you can get caught up in worrying about who is injured, who isn't in the team and whether this or that isn't right.
"If you can get caught up in that you can get sucked in and lose your head. If everyone gets themselves right individually, then it is going to be of a collective benefit.
"There is a need to have team meetings and to know our jobs and where we are heading. But when your confidence is low and results are going against you, I think you need to focus on what you are doing in order to turn it round.
"I feel my consistency is a strong point I have shown this season and I feel in the best shape ever. I feel as though I am maturing as time goes on. I am learning how to play in my position better and what to get out of myself.
"I am pleased, as I have been working so hard physically and it is the most focused I have been."
However, Upson was also keen to stress that the team ethic was vitally important to Birmingham's survival bid.
While he called upon each individual to perform to their maximum for the remainder of the campaign, he implored supporters to show patience if it doesn't go according to plan immediately on Saturday.
"It is massive that the supporters stay onside as the crowd at St Andrew's play a massive part in putting other teams off," he said.
"A lot of players say to me 'I hate coming to your place to play as the fans really get on to us'. But we have to do our job and produce something on the pitch. I am not expecting them to shout and scream if we aren't doing our jobs prop-erly but the more they can support us the better."