Birmingham City have received a major boost ahead of this weekend's grudge match against Aston Villa with the news that derby specialist Garry O'Connor is likely to be fit.
The Scotland international picked up a groin strain during last Saturday's 3-1 defeat to Everton after a heavy tackle by Thomas Gravesen and there were fears he would not be ready in time for Sunday's showdown.
But having undergone a scan earlier this week Birmingham are now confident the striker will be fine for the match at St Andrew's.
O'Connor's absence would have been a big blow to manager Steve Bruce who has seen the Scot lift his team as a second half substitute in each of the previous two matches.
Birmingham were trailing to Wigan Athletic in their last home game when the former Lokomotiv Moscow forward was introduced. Within 20 minutes they had gone on to score twice and won the game.
They were in a similar situation at Goodison Park last weekend when Bruce replaced Sebastian Larsson with O'Connor and made a move that immediately alleviated pressure on the visitors' defence.
Once again with the 24-year-old on the pitch City got back into the game although late lapses denied them a point.
O'Connor's importance is compounded by the fact he has genuine pedigree in derbies having, as a Hibernian player, scored in four of his last five games against Heart of Midlothian.
Then when he moved to Russia his first goal for Lokomotiv was against city rivals Spartak and his last the winner in the cup final against FK Moscow.
A similar outcome on Sunday would be priceless for a team that has the Premiership's fourth poorest strike rate in front of their own supporters.
Even beleaguered Bolton Wanderers have done better on their own patch with seven goals to Birmingham's six.
His recovery does not necessarily guarantee O'Connor a start, however. Bruce has opted to play just Cameron Jerome as an out and out striker in the past few weeks and even if he goes for two up front against Villa, Mikael Forssell is back in the picture after returning to sharpness following surgery on a hernia.
The Finn, whose 17 league goals did much to keep Birmingham in the top flight in 2003-04, made his first Premier League appearance for two months last weekend.
But it is his performances in the reserve team that will have caught Bruce's eye. Forssell scored three in a training ground friendly with Aston Villa last week and then bagged another hat-trick against Fulham reserves on Monday night.
He opened the scoring and then consolidated the victory with a close-range finish late in the game before producing the sort of quick-footed finish that suggested he could return to his best.
One player to whom Bruce won't be able to turn is Rowan Vine who has extended his loan spell and will remain with Queens Park Rang-ers for a further two months.
The former Luton Town attacker, who cost £2.5 million in the January transfer window, has appeared just twice this season - in the Carling Cup, and has scored just once since his move from Kenilworth Road.
But he has been a key figure in the Londoners' recent upturn in form which has seen them move out of the Championship's bottom three.
Vine joined the Loftus Road outfit last month he will remain there until the new year, although Birmingham will be able to recall him after December 1.
"His enthusiasm and professionalism is very good and I am looking forward to working with him," said new Rangers' manager Luigi De Canio.