Jermaine Pennant is unlikely to suffer any restrictions as a result of playing for Birmingham City with an electronic tagging device around his left ankle.
The England Under-21 winger was released from prison yesterday - he served a third of a three-month sentence for driving offences - and is free to play in the Premiership providing that he does not break the terms of his parole.
This means that, in addition to obeying a nightly curfew, Pennant cannot remove the tag until the end of his sentence on May 31.
The curfew, which is 7pm to 7am for the most part, will be changed to accommodate Birmingham's match away to Chelsea on April 9 but otherwise Pennant is obliged to conform.
A Home Office spokesman said: "The whole purpose [of the tag] is that we know where the prisoner is. He could remove it but he would be in breach of his probation conditions and would be returned to jail. There is nothing to say that he cannot play while wearing a tag.
"The usual curfew times are 7pm to 7pm but in certain circumstances these can vary, as long as his probation officer was aware of it."
However, while the tagging device might be considered an inconvenience, there is a precedent that augurs well for Pennant.
Gary Croft of Ipswich Town played three matches in 1999-2000 with a similar tagging device and showed no adverse effects. In fact, he scored on his first match out of prison. Derek Davies, who reports on Ipswich Town for the Eastern Daily Press recalls that Croft barely noticed the device.
"Gary was not inhibited by his tag at all," Davies said. "It was a bit bulkier and it required a bit of padding but otherwise there were no problems. There were certainly no extra injury risks. Actually, he told me it was very comfortable."
Pennant did not train yesterday but was, understandably, in good spirits. Steve Bruce, the Birmingham manager, will reveal today whether or not the player will be in the squad for the match against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premiership at St Andrew's tomorrow.
During his 30 days at Woodhill Prison, Milton Keynes, Pennant spent an hour a day in the gym, preparing to resume his Premiership career. While in jail, he missed two matches - at home to West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa.
Bruce visited Pennant in prison three weeks ago and came away impressed with how the player was handling the unfortunate experience.
At the time, Bruce said: "Jermaine is bearing up as well as anyone would. He is just trying to get over the shock of it. It is not nice. If anyone has been to or visited a prison, it is not the nicest of places, but he is bearing up."
Bruce has said that he will welcome Pennant back to St Andrew's and help the player "settle back into normality". Birmingham are sure to sign the player on a permanent deal from Arsenal in May. Negotiations between the clubs are understood to be at an advanced stage.
Bruce has always maintained that Birmingham would stand by the player and the manager said: "We are delighted that Jermaine is back with us again and I'm pleased that this chapter of his life has been concluded. Myself and everybody at the club will be doing all we can to ensure that Jermaine settles back as soon as possible."
Pennant pleaded guilty to drink driving while disqualified and was jailed on March 1 at Aylesbury Magistrates' Court.
In a statement upon his release, the player said: "It is a relief to be out. I am looking forward to putting on my football boots and start training again. I would like to thank all those who have helped me through this difficult period."
Pennant was arrested in January after he was spotted in a car park in Aylesbury driving a Mercedes with a lamp post dragging beneath it. He pleaded guilty at a hearing last month to charges of drink driving, driving while disqualified and using a vehicle without insurance.
The England Under-21 international had been banned from driving for 16 months in February last year after being seen travelling in the wrong lane in Paddington, west London. That period was later cut after he completed a special course.