Birmingham City manager Steve Bruce admits that he has a painful decision to make over goalkeeper Maik Taylor before tomorrow's relegation crunch with Sunderland.
The Blues No 1 was in line to be axed for Monday night's postponed home game with Bolton Wanderers following costly errors in both his team's previous two games.
And Taylor is expected to make way for Nico Vaesen when Blues step out at the Stadium of Light for the crucial meeting of the Premiership's bottom two.
Vaesen may prove to be a lucky charm, having been in goal when Blues won 1-0 on their last visit to the Stadium of Light, in November 2002.
Bruce also has a big decision to make over captain Kenny Cunningham, but he is poised to take action in the wake of the two Taylor blunders that handed victories to Everton and Newcastle United.
"Whichever way I go, there are people who aren't going to be happy," he said.
"Maik Taylor has been fantastic for the best part of twoanda-half years but he's a goalkeeper, it gets highlighted when they make a mistake.
"He'll put his hand up and tell you he has made a couple of mistakes but it's a decision which we've got to take."
Taylor has missed just four league games since arriving originally on a season's loan from Fulham and has an unbroken run of 51 Premiership starts stretching back to May 2004.
Like his captain Cunningham, Taylor was a key cog in the Blues defence that clocked up an astonishing eight clean sheets in their first ten games when they made their flying start two seasons ago.
But Cunningham's place is also under threat if Bruce decides to slot fit-again rightback Mario Melchiot straight back in.
Cunningham has switched to right-back for the past two games, allowing Martin Taylor to line up alongside Matt Upson in central defence but Bruce, having been particularly happy with the way his team defended at Newcastle Unierd on their last outing three weeks ago, has already stated that Martin Taylor has done enough to stay in. If Melchiot returns, then Cunningham could be the man to sit this one out.
"At Newcastle, we played very well," said Bruce. "It was as good a performance as we've produced in a long time and uppermost in my mind is staying true to that team.
"The biggest dilemma I have is picking the right team but that's what I get paid for and it's a better headache than having what we've had for the last three months, when you just rolled up on a Saturday and, if you were fit, you played.
"Everyone is fit apart from Mikael Forssell and Mehdi Nafti and it's a long time since I've said that."
On the eve of Melchiot's return, hopefully to recreate the successful right-flank rapport he enjoyed last season with Jermaine Pennant, Bruce admitted he has gone no further in agreeing a new deal with the Holland international, whose contract runs out next June. Melchiot is free to talk to other clubs in January, but the Blues boss is adamant that now is not the time to be discussing such matters.
"The club went into negotiations with Mario in the summer," said Bruce. "We tried to extend his contract and it wasn't very fruitful.
"He knows we'd like him to stay but it isn't the right time at the moment for any negotiations on new contracts, for obvious reasons.
"Talks on anyone coming out of contract will be shelved until we know what situation we're in.
"Mario can speak to other clubs but anyone wanting a new contract, and that usually means pay rises, will have to shelve the talks.
"It would certainly be the wrong time to ask me for a pay rise when we're second from bottom.
"I'd like Mario to stay but we got him on a Bosman ourselves and you have to live with the fact that he might want to keep his options open. It's part of football."
Bruce also failed to shed any more light on his chances of landing one of his long-time transfer targets, the Austrian international defender Paul Scharner.
"We're looking at the [ January transfer] window and we have a few possible targets but we'll see what develops," he said.
"I'd hate to be marooned at the bottom asking the board to supply funds, because I don't think it would be right. I'm hoping that, by the middle of January, we're not in the bottom three but where I'd expect us to be in, tucked in that pack."