With Juan Pablo Angel's influence diminishing by the match, and Milan Baros still waiting to look like a European champion, Kevin Phillips has become the most important of the Aston Villa strikers.
Ostensibly signed as a back-up striker (at least, according to David O'Leary), Phillips has become the man whom Villa can barely do without.
The good news for O'Leary is that Phillips has not suffered ankle-ligament damage after turning the joint in training. The bad news is that Phillips may not be fit to face Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
"Kevin twisted his ankle and was sent for a scan but that was just a precaution," O'Leary, the beleaguered Villa manager, said. "Every player these days is sent for them because you find out so much from them.
"The scan showed absolutely no damage and the medical people are saying there's no reason why he shouldn't be fit for the weekend."
Auguries are not good, however, and Phillips may be forced to sit out what is sure to be a pivotal match for Villa. Phillips twisted his ankle on Monday after illness kept him out of the 1-1 draw away to Newcastle United last Saturday.
The initial fears were that he would be sidelined for the match against Bolton, then there was hope that he would, in fact, be fit to play, but now nobody is sure.
Phillips has scored four goals in 12 appearances for Villa since his move, for £1 million, from Southampton in the summer. But that only tells part of the story, for Phillips has done much to ease the pressure with his ability to lead the line and hold up play.
He has become everything that Angel is not, which must make Villa supporters wonder if Angel's days are numbered. Phillips is more experienced, livelier, more direct, quicker, and more enthusiastic. He also better suits O'Leary's self-styled "high-tempo football".
Angel's form has suffered to such an extent that he does not the resemble the striker who revived Villa's season in 2003-04. In this campaign, he has scored no goals in 14 matches. Last season, he scored nine goals in 38 matches.
Angel, who was signed from River Plate de Argentina for £9.5 million in January 2001, has scored 52 goals in 155 appearances for Villa - but just four of those have come in 2005.
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It is difficult to see Angel remaining at Villa Park beyond this season and his inevitable departure will encourage many supporters to wonder how effective the Colombia international striker could have been.
It is too early to judge Baros but O'Leary will be pleased that the Czech Republic international striker is at least clear of injury. Baros has scored two Premiership goals for Villa this season but, like Angel, did not impress against Newcastle last Saturday.
Baros at least fits into O'Leary's style of play - there are few more determined or hard-working strikers in the Premiership - but there is still the feeling that the player spends as much time on the floor as he does on his feet.
Still, the Phillips-Baros partnership is surely Villa's best bet of an encouraging end to the season, with Luke Moore on hand to provide support where appropriate.
Baros, who won a Uefa Champions League winners' medal with Liverpool last May, joined Villa for £6.5 million in August but, so far, has registered more yellow cards than goals.
Mark Delaney is back in full training after recovering from a groin injury but will not be considered for a return to action against Bolton.
The Wales international defender, who has suffered wretched luck with injuries over the past three years, has played just three matches this season and has slipped below Aaron Hughes in the pecking order for a place at right back.
O'Leary needs as many fit players as possible but he will not risk Delaney.
"He's started back training but he's got to play a reserve game next week before he can be considered," O'Leary said. "He hasn't played for four weeks and will need one or two reserve games. No one can come back that soon after that amount of time out."
Ideally, Delaney would like to return to action when the Villa reserve team play away to West Bromwich Albion on Monday.