Bryan Robson hopes to determine the future of Jason Koumas in the next seven days as the two parties look to find a way of reintegrating the recalcitrant midfielder, writes Brian Dick.
Koumas has effectively been on strike for more than a month and has refused to turn up at training while all the time angling for a move to Cardiff City. After initially fining the player, West Bromwich Albion has since stopped paying him thus making a reunion hugely unlikely.
But last week the transfer to south Wales broke down - apparently permanently - as the Bluebirds finally pronounced themselves unable to match Albion's £2 million valuation.
That left the former Tranmere Rovers man with little option but to try to rebuild many of the bridges he has spent the last 12 months burning and return to The Hawthorns to help their promotion bid.
As a result Robson, the Albion manager, has met with Koumas' agent to discuss how best to handle the Welshman's reintroduction to the team.
Although he refused to comment on those discussions he made his eagerness to sort out the situation clearly apparent.
Koumas has yet to return to training but efforts are being made to smooth the passage. Robson said: "I am hoping that in the next week or so we can take it forward because we have spoken to his agent again but there is nothing new or any different."
He was, however, rather more fulsome on the immediate prospects of Nathan Ellington being fit to play in the Carling Cup at Leyton Orient tomorrow night.
The striker has been struggling with a hamstring injury for most of this season and - despite believing he had made a recovery - was forced off the pitch in Saturday's 2-1 win over Colchester United.
Robson described the likelihood of Ellington appearing at Brisbane Road as little more than 50-50, saying: "He is into light training again and is having treatment on his back and his hamstrings just trying to get the situation 100 per cent clear. "It is just disappointing that having got him to the second half it flared up again because in the first 45 minutes he never felt a thing.
"It is a decision whether I rest him and make sure he is 100 per cent fit for Sunderland."
With Kevin Phillips on board, the return to fitness of youngster Stuart Nicholson and the relative insignificance of the competition, it is doubtful whether Robson would want to risk one of only three senior forwards he has at his disposal.