Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Glenn Hoddle has admitted that he could be saved a small fortune in the transfer market if George Ndah's return to action proves not to be a false dawn.
Ndah got an emotional welcome back from the Molineux crowd when he made a surprise return for his first appearance since May 2003 on Tuesday.
Ndah's late emergence from the bench against Crystal Palace undoubtedly tipped the scales and helped Wolves to a fortunate three points.
Having signed a second successive one-year, payperplay contract, the injuryjinxed Ndah is being given every encouragement to make a full recovery by a manager who clearly believes in him.
But, while Hoddle is aware of just how big a factor Ndah was before his injuries, he also admits there is a time factor.
When it comes to how best to spend the £3million available as a result of Henri Camara's transfer to Wigan Athletic, Hoddle has admitted that Ndah's fitness holds the key.
If he can prove he looks capable of going the season by the time the transfer window closes on August 31, then Hoddle will have no need for another striker and can concentrate on strengthening other areas .
"I've already got a player I'm looking to bring in," said Hoddle. "My only problem is whether he stays fit and that's George Ndah. I will only bring in somebody up front if I feel that's not going to happen.
"At the moment he's on course, without being fully tested. We've nursed him along but I've told him we could be looking at ten games into the season before he's firing on all cylinders. And, if he is, then we've got a striker who can score a lot of goals.
"My difficulty is that we cannot test him fully until after that window is shut. Essentially, we're looking for a player like George and we've already got him."
Ndah is pleased simply to be playing again after returning to competitive action for the first time since the playoff semi final first leg win over Reading 27 months ago.
Hoddle craftily kept under wraps even the notion that he was thinking of putting Ndah on the bench, to help keep the pressure off the 30-year-old Londoner.
"I had an inkling that I might be involved earlier on in the day and I started to get quite nervous," said Ndah, who had also come on as a substitute in Wolves' final warm-up game against Aston Villa 10 days earlier.
"Since playing against Villa, I've been excited about playing a first-team game again but words can't describe the feeling when the gaffer told me to get ready to come on.
"To hear the noise of the fans when I ran out was emotional. I was choked up for a second and I had to fight hard to concentrate on the game.
"I've also got to give a special mention to the Palace fans because they were good to me as well.
"It was just amazing to get out there again but I'm glad the comeback game is over with, so I can now look to the future.
"It's been a difficult two years and at times I've seriously thought about whether it was all worth it, but I'm obviously glad I persevered.
"I always get a good result against Palace, I told the gaffer that before the game!"