Steve Bruce has confessed to making a "big mistake" in having only three senior strikers at his disposal for the first half of the season, during which his Birmingham City team performed like a team destined for relegation.
After allowing Clinton Morrison to join Crystal Palace, Bruce had only Emile Heskey, Mikael Forssell and Walter Pandiani to call upon and these strikers were not performing well.
With Forssell struggling for fitness and Pandiani out of form, it left a huge responsibility on the shoulders of Heskey, whose workrate was more impressive than his scoring rate.
Only in January, when the transfer window opened, was Bruce able to redress the situation, selling Pandiani but bringing in Chris Sutton and Dudley "D J" Campbell. Suddenly, Birmingham do not look like a team fighting against relegation, even if they are still in the bottom three of the table.
Bruce said: "For five months, we basically had Heskey on his own and he did an excellent job. Walter failed to reproduce what he had shown when on loan last season and the injuries to Mikael and the time needed to get o ver them have been well-documented.
"We went into the season with three strikers. Possibly, that was a big mistake in hindsight. We took a gamble there and it left us short and we couldn't do anything about it until the transfer window."
With Heskey suspended and Sutton still struggling to overcome a groin problem, Bruce may have to give a full debut to Campbell for the match at West Ham United tonight.
It would be a massive step up for a player who was with Yeading in Nationwide South last season but Campbell showed enough in 20 minutes as a substitute against Arsenal to suggest he can make the grade.
"In those 20 minutes, D J was never fazed at all," Bruce said. "You can see he is desperate to do well. He has worked in a warehouse for two to three years and is determined to try to take this opportunity.
"I personally think he is going to have a big, important role to play over the next eight to ten weeks and he might nick us a couple of goals which could help to keep us in the Premier League."
Bruce is again having to contend with an horrendous injury list but is determined to try to remain upbeat.
"The vast majority can understand our frustration," Bruce said. "If a club like Newcastle are struggling like hell with all their resources, how are we going to cope with it?
"It would be the same with any club if you had your best four or five players missing. I didn't think it would be this much of a struggle, but this is where we find ourselves.
"At least playing on Monday night has given us an extra 48 hours to try to get some people patched up so, in that respect, I'm delighted.
"If the game had been on Saturday, I think it would have been too close for a few of them. I've had a little bit of luck as far as that is concerned but I think we are certainly due some."
Major injury doubts are Sutton, Matthew Upson, Martin Taylor, David Dunn, Muzzy Izzet, Stan Lazaridis, Neil Kilkenny and Olivier Tebily. In addition to Heskey, Damien Johnson is also suspended.
But Kenny Cunningham, the captain, has a chance of being fit after his groin injury while Martin Latka and Campbell will return after being ineligible for the FA Cup replay victory over Reading.
Alan Pardew, the West Ham manager, has revealed how he will always be grateful to Bruce for some sound advice during one of the toughest periods of his managerial career.
When Pardew wanted to take on the challenge of West Ham in September 2003, Reading initially refused to let him go and attempted to obtain a court injunction to prevent him from being employed by a competing club.
Eventually, it was agreed he could assume control of the Hammers but only on the condition that he take one month's "gardening leave" and the east London club pay Reading £380,000 in compensation.
Bruce called Pardew to pass on some words of wisdom from his own experience, an unexpected show of solidarity from a colleague which meant a lot to the Hammers chief.
Pardew said: "When I moved to West Ham from Reading and I had a court case pending and gardening leave, Steve rang me because, obviously, he had a situation at Crystal Palace as well.
"His advice wasn't easy to hear, but it was very good advice and he helped me big-time because it was a difficult period and not something any manager wants to go through."
Pardew has close ties with one member of the Blues coaching team, Terry Bullivant, who handed the former Palace midfielder his first step on the managerial ladder at Barnet.