Aston Villa manager David O'Leary's plan to "have a go" at Premiership leaders Chelsea tomorrow is resting on the fitness of Milan Baros.
The £6 million man has not trained since taking a kick on his Achilles tendon in Tuesday night's extraordinary 8-3 Carling Cup win over Wycombe Wanderers.
With Kevin Phillips already out, O'Leary is now sweating on Baros making a quick recovery before naming his team to take on the seemingly indefatigable reigning champions at Stamford Bridge.
"Milan's taken a bang down the bottom of the tendon," said O'Leary. "He felt it after the game, was still feeling it on Wednesday and missed training on Thursday and we're just hoping it will improve, or it mucks my plans up big style.
"It leaves me with just Juan Pablo Angel as a striker, as Kevin Phillips has got no chance.
"He's had a scan which has shown a calf muscle pull and we don't even think he's got a chance for the Middlesbrough game.
"I wanted to go to Chelsea, play with two strikers and have a go. But this makes it difficult for us."
Baros played a key role for Liverpool last season in both the Champions League semi-final displays that showed to the rest of Europe how Chelsea can be stopped. And O'Leary was looking to him to help show his new team-mates the way to get a result there tomorrow.
But, while his lack of strikers might force him to play with one up front if Baros does not make it, O'Leary is still looking to his team to go there in positive mood.
Six of Villa's eight midweek goals came from three of their midfield men, Steven Davis, James Milner and stand-in skipper Gareth Barry. And, while England's top team are a cut above the standard of opposition they faced on Tuesday night, O'Leary concedes that scoring goals is a healthy habit.
"Cup ties like that are banana skins as we've seen this week," said O'Leary. "Whether it's Wycombe or Doncaster, it's their cup final and it can always throw up shocks.
"But we got through and it will have not done any harm putting in a performance like that, playing such nice slick football and seeing so many goals from different areas of the team.
"We'll be written off by everybody expecting a home win, but I just want us to be positive about it. I don't want us going down there with an 'as long as we don't get beat' attitude."
Two years ago, Villa went to Stamford Bridge also on the back of a big League Cup win at Adams Park, having beaten Wycombe 5-0 on that occasion.
Juan Pablo Angel was the star of that show with a hat-trick, only to then draw a blank on the Saturday after missing some decent chances. And, although his name was a conspicuous absentee from the score-sheet on Tuesday night, O'Leary still has faith.
"Juan had a couple of chances that day," said O'Leary. "And last year was a scruffy game, when we lost only 1-0 but it was close enough that we might have nicked something.
"Having a spare week by not being involved in the Carling Cup will have benefited Chelsea.
"For all the big names they have, and however many they have out of Crespo, Robben and Duff on the bench, it's players like John Terry and Frank Lampard that gives them the backbone.
" But nobody goes throughout a season without conceding a goal."