Bryan Robson is sure that Ugo Ehiogu, the former England international defender, will complete his move from Middlesbrough to West Bromwich Albion on Monday.
The Albion manager was hopeful that Ehiogu, who began his career with the club and made his name with Aston Villa, might have been signed in time to face Wigan Athletic tomorrow but a deal cannot be done until early next week.
Middlesbrough originally hoped to keep hold of Ehiogu after Gareth Southgate, their central defender, suffered an injury during the FA Cup tie away to Nuneaton Borough last week. But Ehiogu is anxious to play for Albion again.
Ehiogu, aged 33, failed to put pen to paper by the Friday lunchtime deadline required for him to face Paul Jewell's side in the latest twist in the transfer.
It means Darren Moore, the club captain, or Steve Watson is likely to partner Curtis Davies at the JJB Stadium as Albion look for their first away league win of the season. But Ehiogu is likely to arrive on Monday, ensuring that Albion will be stronger at the back.
"There are a couple of hitches which are holding the deal up," Robson said. "Hopefully they will be resolved over the weekend and by Monday Ugo is going to be a West Brom player.
"I would have preferred to have it tied up by now but, because of the circumstances at Middlesbrough, with a few defenders picking up injuries, it was an on-off-on deal.
"That delayed it and, because there has been a hitch between the two clubs and the player in terms of the personal terms, it has been delayed and we couldn't get it through by lunchtime in time for Ugo to be involved at Wigan.
"You can have aims in the transfer market but there are different types of hitches that can happen and that's why it can't always be smooth to sign players.
"If I said it was 99 per cent certain he is going to sign, that still leaves a one per cent doubt and I don't want to be talking about it until the deal is done. There is still a bit of work to be done. There are all sorts of different hitches that can develop in transfers.
"The reason I'm trying to sign Ugo is because he has vast experience and is a big stronger defender who loves to defend. I'm hoping some of that will rub off on my players."
Albion have collected only three points out of a possible 30 on their travels this season and Robson, disappointed and baffled at such a poor run of form, is aware that sequence of results has to be improved upon if his side are to remain in the Premiership.
"We need to improve our away form because we are putting too much pressure on ourselves every time we come to a home game because we are not picking up points away from home," Robson said.
"The lads know it is really important we turn it around. Over the Christmas period we really did have difficult away games at Manchester United and Liverpool and we didn't get anything out of them.
"Before that I did feel we had some reasonable performances away from home but we kept missing chances. I don't think that can happen all the way through the season.
"But there is no point us talking about it. We have got to make it happen. If we can put in performances at home like in the Everton, Manchester City and Tottenham games, there is no reason why we can't put in performances like that away from home."
Zoltan Gera, the Hungary international captain, continues to feel discomfort after his double hernia operation in October and he will miss out against Wigan tomorrow.
The midfield player, Albion's most important individual last season, came off the substitute's bench to score from the penalty spot in the FA Cup match against Reading last week but has suffered a reaction to the problem.
Kanu will see a specialist on Monday to see whether he can participate in the African Nations Cup after sustaining a fractured cheekbone against the Royals.
Robson believes it is "50-50" whether the former Arsenal striker will be involved, especially if Nigeria fail to qualify from their group.
"He has got to go and see the specialist on Monday and the specialist will make a decision then on where he is up to and whether he is going to be able to go and compete in any part of the African Nations Cup," Robson said.