Bryan Robson hasn't ruled out the possibility of new signings in the January transfer window but has categorically stated that Kieran Richardson will not be coming back to The Hawthorns.
The Manchester United midfielder, who was so instrumental in Albion's successful battle against the drop last season during a five-month loan spell, has repeatedly been linked to bolstering a struggling side when the window re-opens.
With Robson saying that he is keeping tabs on a number of targets, Richardson was touted as a possible returnee.
However, the Albion manager says that, while he would love to bring Richardson back to The Hawthorns, there is absolutely no possibility of that occurring.
"It is all pure speculation," Robson said.
"I spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer and he said he didn't want to sell Kieran Richardson; it was a definite no and he didn't want him going out on loan either.
"I don't think that will change, as Manchester United have a fair few injuries and Kieran has been involved in every game so there is no story there.
"He keeps getting into the England squad and he is getting his chance at Manchester United as well, so good luck to him, as he did a terrific job when he was here.
"If Sir Alex thought he wasn't going to be in his plans in the back half of the season then I am sure he would give me first opportunity to take him, but it isn't going to happen."
That leaves Robson without three of the players who were instrumental in helping Albion beat tomorrow's opponents Everton last season.
A Zoltan Gera goal handed Albion their penultimate win of the season in April but he will be absent due to a hernia operation this week.
The aforementioned Richardson is back at Old Trafford while Kevin Cambpell is also missing with a recurrence of his ankle injury.
Chris Kirkland has resumed training and will be back in contention for next week's match at Middlesbrough but it has left Robson lamenting the absence of last season's January window signings.
Robson said: "I will look to see what I can do in the January window and, while I haven't got funds available, there is the possibility of loan
deals. Or another consideration is if I can move someone out to bring someone in.
"Players like Campbell are leaders and you will miss his sort. He looked at our squad in January and thought we had a chance of getting out of it while Kieran came in with an enthusiasm of 'I'm not going to be relegated', which rubbed off on the other boys.
"He has a winning mentality and he doesn't know what defeat is and you need a real spark and an aggressive mentality.
"Certain players will dwell on defeat whereas the mentally-strong ones are ready to go again, which is what you have to do in our situation.
"It is OK if you are mid-table or even top of the league as you are confident and enjoying football but it is different at the bottom of the table.
"That is why a big percentage of a player's performance is down to confidence. We know they have got decent ability; that is why they are in Premiership.
"This is a big game for us in that if we beat Everton we are out of the bottom three.
"That is good for players who are constantly looking at the league table, even though it is early in the season, and seeing yourselves in the bottom three. It is a far nicer feeling when you aren't".