Steve Bruce will resist the temptation to use Chris Sutton as a defender when Birmingham City play at Reading in the FA Cup tomorrow.
Sutton was signed as a striker and has had such a profound effect since moving to St Andrew's two weeks ago that the manager wants to maintain the momentum up front.
But there is a problem: Birmingham are short of central defenders, with Kenny Cunningham and Martin Taylor injured and Matthew Upson suspended. It means that Bruce's son, Alex, is a contender to solve the matter.
Sutton has spent the majority of his career as an intelligent striker but, at 6ft 3in, has also flourished as a defender, particularly during his days with Norwich City a decade or so ago.
Under normal circumstances, Bruce would opt to push Sutton into the defence, but the striker has performed well since joining Birmingham and has also revitalised Emile Heskey and Mikael Forssell.
Sutton produced a superlative display when Birmingham defeated Portsmouth 5-0 last Saturday and seemed to be the glue that held everything together whenever the team moved forward.
Suddenly, Heskey looks an international player again, Jermaine Pennant is at his best again, Jiri Jarosik is improving dramatically, Forssell is growing in confidence and David Dunn seems to have benefited from Birmingham's new-found flexibility.
Sutton could become as talismanic as Christophe Dugarry was three years ago. When Birmingham signed the France international, they were flirting with relegation but survived with ease. The task is tougher this time around - Birmingham are still in the bottom three - but Sutton's arrival provides hope.
Bruce has made an enquiry about Andy O'Brien, of Portsmouth, but a deal is unlikely. Unfortunately for the Birmingham manager, he cannot sign any more Premiership players on loan.
Bruce has backed Forssell, the Finland international striker, to play "a massive part" in the second half of the season after the player finally shook off his long-term knee problems.
The manager said that, if he had £8 million to spend, he would struggle to bring in a better front-runner than Forssell.
Forssell is beginning to show signs of recapturing the sharpness that made him a deadly finisher two seasons ago when he scored 19 goals on loan from Chelsea.
He faces stiff competition for a regular first-team spot from Heskey and Sutton, with Bruce also keen to bring in Peter Lovenkrands, the Rangers striker, or Jason Euell, of Charlton Athletic.
Birmingham have already staged talks with representatives of Euell and Lovenkrands and Bruce is optimistic of signing at least one of the players. The club have already agreed a fee of £1.5 million for Euell and are expected to offer about £400,000 for Lovenkrands.
However, Bruce has no doubts about the impact that Forssell can make on Birmingham's battle to stay in the Premiership if he is firing on all cylinders.
He said: "Mikael has been unfortunate in having this knee problem which he has taken a long time to get over. I've paid particular attention to [injury-plagued Manchester United striker] Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and he hasn't found it easy, either, after a similar setback. However good a player as Solskjaer is, he will find it difficult when he has been out that long.
"But he has been showing encouraging signs and, as regards Mikael, we all know that he is a talent. He comes alive in the box and we all know what he is capable of.
"Even if I had £6-8 million to spend on a striker, could I really get anyone better than Mikael Forssell? With his
goal-scoring record, I don't really think so.
"It is vitally important for us that he stays on the pitch because he'll have a massive, massive part to play in the next four or five months."
Meanwhile, Stan Lazaridis could be set to leave Birmingham and join Crystal Palace for £300,000.
The Australia international left-winger has been with Birmingham for five and a half years, since the Trevor Francis managerial era, but is playing less first-team football than he would like.
Lazaridis, aged 33, has been given permission to leave the club despite appearing in the 5-0 victory over Portsmouth last Saturday.