Having spent the last week at the heart of a Birmingham City defence that has struggled to contain the finishing-prowess of Andrew Cole and the raw aggression of Mark Viduka, Kenny Cunningham might have looked forward to facing the rather more prosaic talents of Geoff Horsfield.
Not any more. The West Bromwich Albion striker is currently riding high at the start of his club's new Premiership campaign and followed up last Saturday's brace against Portsmouth with the signing of a new two-year contract.
Horsfield is almost certain to be in the Baggies team that welcomes a beleaguered Blues side to The Hawthorns tomorrow and he will be intent on sustaining the black cloud that currently exists over Cunningham's club.
No wins in three games, a run that has included consecutive home losses to Cole's Manchester City and Viduka's Middlesbrough in midweek, mean Blues go into the derby fearing what Horsfield can do rather than fancying what he can't.
The two men used to be team-mates at St Andrew's, until the striker left for Wigan Athletic two years ago, and Cunningham knows from many bruising encounters in training what a danger his dynamic opponent can be.
"Geoff is a good player to have," said Cunningham. "Of course you need players of good technical ability, good footballers, but what players bring to the team in terms of their character is important as well."
There is a perception about Horsfield that he is a man to get teams promoted and one to ship out once the Promised Land has been reached.
Both Fulham and Birmingham have done that and there was a stage when it looked as though Gary Megson might do the same at Albion.
Thankfully for Albion he didn't and the 31-year-old made a vital contribution to their Great Escape. For Cunningham there is nothing to prove.
"They were in absolute dire straits with a few of months of the season to go and it was Geoff and a number of the more experienced players that pulled them through it.
"The input they have off the pitch, in the dressing room and around the training ground, can be doubly important.
"Both he and Kevin Campbell had a hugely positive effect on them towards the end of last season."
So with one of his mates looking to extend Birmingham's winless run the Republic of Ireland international knows he and defensive partner Matt Upson are in for a rough ride tomorrow lunchtime.
"You know what you are going to get when you come up against Geoff and Kevin Campbell as well.
"They have a real physical edge to their game, they get in your face and don't make it easy for you," he said.
Meanwhile Clinton Morrison yesterday completed his transfer back to Crystal Palace and ended a frustrating three year stay at St Andrew's.
The striker signed a threeyear contract at Selhurst Park and will link up with Andrew Johnson, the former Blues Academy product who was sent to the Eagles as part of the £4.25 million deal that landed Morrison in 2002.
Birmingham have initially received £1.1 million for Morrison with a further £250,000 to come once he has played a set amount of games, another £250,000 if Palace are promoted this season and a further £250,000 should they then retain their Premiership status.
And Steve Bruce last night scotched rumours that he was on the brink of quitting after a magazine article suggested he was destined for a career in the media.
"There's no question of me quitting for TV and it is rubbish to suggest that," Bruce said.
"I made a reference to something in a magazine, which has been misinterpreted - I intend to see through this job."