West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Mowbray might have deemed Jason Koumas surplus to requirements less than a fortnight ago. But he is now relying on his maverick midfielder to be fit enough to prove Albion's inspiration again for Saturday's trip to Coventry City.
Koumas scored one goal and was involved in the making of several others when Albion walloped Coventry 5-0 at The Hawthorns in December. And he was again back in award-winning form when he inspired the Baggies into an early 2-0 lead at Burnley on Monday night.
"Koumas was flying," said Mowbray. "He was by far the best player on the pitch. An inspiration. And I was disappointed for him that he was on the losing side."
But to add to the bitterness of a particularly painful 3-2 defeat, Koumas suffered an injury to his calf late on. And he is not certain of being fit for what will be Albion's first trip to the Ricoh.
"Jason took a heavy knock," said Mowbray. "We'll have to wait and see."
Koumas himself is confident. "I'm fit," he said. "I just got studs in my calf right at the end."
After a dip in form that accompanied a distracting award as the Championship's player of the season and an axing from the Albion first team, Koumas certainly responded to his recall.
Less than 24 hours after being named in the PFA's Championship team of the season, his long range sixth-minute opener - his ninth goal of the season - ought to have initiated three points for Albion. He also had two other near misses and he admits that the prospect of a trip to Wembley in the play-off final on May 28 has got his juices flowing.
"I've had niggles as well, which hasn't helped," said Koumas. "But that game gave me the confidence I've maybe lacked a little bit.
"I've had a tough time. I haven't been playing well for the last month or so.
"But I'm looking forward to the games coming up. There is a trip to Wembley and a massive game at stake.
"I want to be involved in that and hopefully play a major part in getting us up.
Burnley was a setback but we're still confident that, when it counts, we'll be there at Wembley."
"We were so comfortable at 2-0 up. Then Burnley got a goal which was offside. And it's just a shame it wasn't 11 versus 11 for 90 minutes because there is no way they would have beaten us, I'm pretty sure of that."
As for his manager, Mowbray's job is simply to lift spirits between now and Saturday - a factor that could depend on whether defender Paul McShane has his red card wiped from the record by the FA at his disciplinary hearing today.
Mowbray certainly thought his controversial sending off was the turning point at Turf Moor.
"And, given his existing frailties at the back without Curtis Davies, the suspended Neil Clement and possibly Sam Sodje too, he acknowledges that McShane is urgently needed.
"I'd like to think we'd have gone on and won comfortably with the football we played but you never know. It's easy to sit here and say that now.
"We were in control over the whole football match then conceded a ridiculous goal and we then just failed to deal with set-pieces.
"But the bottom line is it's pretty hard to defend the box when you're missing four first-choice centre-halves
"Things went against us, you have to accept that. That's football, we have to accept it. I know how it is. It's a results industry. If we win we're great, if we lose we're poor.
"But hopefully the officials will hold their hands up and say they got a few things wrong.
"And we just have to take this on the chin, push on and win our next two games."