Chelsea are desperate for Joe Cole to be fit again this weekend to face the club that very nearly bought him in the summer.
Cole, who stayed at home for his team-mates' trip to Romania last night, could well be Chelsea's only wide option, with injuries now plaguing the squad.
Aston Villa are the opposition on Saturday, and their inspirational boss Martin O'Neill knows all about what Cole has to offer. He is reported to have put in a persuasive bid for the England man in the close season - but Cole didn't want to go.
This despite comments from the Islington-born Cole about how he might need to look beyond London for a boss willing to bring out the best in him.
"Sometimes I think if I had a manager who said to me: 'Go out and do your stuff, you can have two or three indifferent games', as players do, then maybe I could be an even better player than I am," he said.
"I've not had that in my career, and it would be nice to have someone right behind me. You would love to have that kind of belief from your manager. I hope it is my time."
The comments could be seen as a snub to current Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari, although they are more likely to relate to predecessors Avram Grant or Jose Mourinho.
And Cole will know that if he can make the starting line up against this weekend, it could well be the first step towards a fresh start.
Whatever his future, Cole could come face-to-face on Saturday with a player who has been fighting him for the same England place out wide, and was even linked with a move to Chelsea. What's more, Gabby Agbonlahor knows how to score against Chelsea, having done it already, while Cole has never netted for the Blues against the Villains.