It's not quite the footballing equivalent of scraping the bottom of the barrel but Paul Merson's attempts to tease David Seaman out of retirement have not only met with failure but also hint at the exacting circumstances prevailing at the Bescot Stadium.
Merson goes into tomorrow night's FA Cup match at Merthyr Tydfil with just ten fit senior players but safe in the knowledge that he has done all he can to alleviate Walsall's crippling injury crisis - including trying to twist the arm of a man who may have won 75 international caps but has not played in nearly two years.
It is his team's current goalkeeping situation that most troubles Merson who finds his resources so stretched that he has no alternative but to rely on 18-year- old novice Rene Gilmartin.
Walsall have three goalkeepers in their squad but with Andy Oakes out for another six weeks having had hand surgery on Tuesday and on loan Joe Murphy refused permission to play by his employers Sunderland, Merson has spent the last few days turning as many stones as he can find - in vain.
Seaman opted for gloves more suited to gardening than goalkeeping in January 2004 at the age of 40, midway through a one-year contract with Manchester City, as a shoulder injury became too much to overcome.
Nevertheless Merson is so desperate to avoid last season's ignominious first round defeat at Slough Town that he is prepared to gamble an experienced head on a onenight-only basis.
Unfortunately for him his call to arms was not heeded by his former Arsenal and England colleague who could not play again, even if he wanted to.
"David is obviously someone I know well from my time at Arsenal," said Merson yesterday. "I contacted his agent but unfortunately he took out insurance when he retired which means he can't play again. I even considered people like Chris Woods and Neville Southall."
But he kept coming up against the same problem. "No club is going to let one of their three goalkeepers get cup tied playing for someone else," Merson explained.
That leaves Gilmartin as his only option and so the Irishman teenager will get just his second senior appearance six weeks after he featured in a game that has proved one of the most frustrating of the season so far.
With Gilmartin in goal Walsall were cruising 2-0 up at home to Chesterfield but capitulated in the second-half and lost 3-2. Both manager and player will hope the trip to South Wales is rather less eventful.
"I have every confidence in him coming in and doing a job for us, but it would have been nice to have had a few more experienced heads out there," Merson said.
Gilmartin will be behind a team shorn of eight regulars including Merson himself, Simon Osborn, Michael Standing, Chris Westwood and Mark Wright who is expected to miss the next nine weeks with knee ligament damage.
As a result the former Aston Villa midfielder will name a youthful bench whose thoughts might be elsewhere.
"My five subs are going to be youth players who will be playing in the Youth Cup on Saturday morning - people like Ishmel Demontagnac will have to do both."
The fact that the match will be played on Friday night - as a result of live television's interest - means it is one that has already been marked out as a potential upset.
Merson is aware of the significance and is also conscious that a repeat of last season's embarrassment will not be tolerated.
"I have seen Merthyr play, and have had them watched by my chief scout and we don't have anyone watched twice. I have talked with other managers and have showed them the utmost respect. I know their players inside out.
"We'll be watching the Slough game on video in training, on the coach and on the way to the ground just to see how happy their players were when they beat us."