As Bryan Robson's problems mount and West Bromwich Albion wonder how the Premiership table manages to look so bleak, there is the consolation of Zolton Gera's return to action.
Albion lost 2-0 at home to Liverpool on Saturday and Robson, the manager, could be forced to do without Steve Watson for the next match after the defender limped out
of the match. But Gera's arrival as a half-time substitute, in place of Diomansy Kamara, at least provided hope. A talismanic figure, Gera (left, with Xabi Alonso) did enough with his first few touches to emerge as Albion's best player on the day.
How Albion will need the Hungary international captain for their final six matches of the season.
The former Ferencvaros midfield player has not begun a first-team match for six months because of a pelvic problem. He has been missed.
Robson said: "Kamara was far too slack in his performance and gave the ball away cheaply, which is why I brought him off. I thought I'd have a look at Zoltan to see where he is at and it's good that he looked all right for 45 minutes.
"Looking at that performance, there was every encouragement Zoltan could start next week. Zoltan was a big player for us last season and hopefully he is 100 per cent and can play a big role for us between now and the end of the season."
Robson will monitor Gera's progress to see if he suffers any adverse reaction to his exertions before the match away to Aston Villa on Sunday.
He said: "Hopefully, Zoltan will have no reaction to that 45 minutes. We'll have a look at him as the week goes on. Steve Watson is feeling his hamstring a little bit. I don't think he has actually pulled it, but it was a bit tight."
At Villa Park, Albion will be boosted by the return of Nigel Quashie, the midfield player, after suspension.
There is the prospect of Albion falling into the relegation zone if Birmingham City win at home to Bolton Wanderers tomorrow night.
Robson said: "It doesn't matter about the pressure others apply, because it's up to the players to concentrate on their own game. It was the same last season where we played games after teams had produced certain results. It is still simply about getting results ourselves."