Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has said that new signing Filip Djuricic could make his debut against West Ham given the club's injury problems.
Saturday's last-gasp win at QPR propelled them back to the third in the standings, with the Saints winning six of their last eight Premier league matches -- a feat made all the more impressive by the number of key players they have had to cope without over that period.
Wednesday's visit of West Ham is no different for manager Koeman, who has Shane Long, Jay Rodriguez, Ryan Bertrand, Matthew Targett and Lloyd Isgrove all unavailable.
Morgan Schneiderlin will be assessed ahead of the match, while the Saints boss confirmed Emmanuel Mayuka's season is over with groin injury sustained on African Nations Cup duty with Zambia.
That lengthy list of absentees means Djuricic, a deadline-day loan acquisition from Benfica, could make his Saints debut despite a lack of match-fitness.
"Finally Filip Djuricic got his work permit yesterday afternoon and did a normal training session this morning," Koeman said.
"He's part of the squad for tomorrow and it's an exception because it's not, in my opinion, good to have a player with one session in the last week.
"We miss eight or nine players tomorrow so [I will make] an exception to put Djuricic on the bench but if we need a quality player I can put Djuricic in, not for 90 minutes but for 45 minutes or less.''
It is a far from ideal scenario ahead of a match few expect to be anywhere near as straightforward as August's 3-1 win at Upton Park.
Sam Allardyce's side, much like Saints, have surprised onlookers this term and approach this match eighth in the standings.
Only a late Daley Blind strike denied West Ham victory against Manchester United on Sunday, while Koeman is wary of the potential return from injury of Andy Carroll.
"I am expecting a difficult game because I watched the game last Sunday and I think they played very well, very physical strong, but maybe it depends on the yes or no start from Carroll," he said.
"The player, if he plays, they can play a little bit more direct, but they showed without that player that they can play good football.
"It is difficult but they had very good opportunities to kill the game and in the end were a little bit unlucky with one point. That was, I think, the best result for us."
Carroll has proved a better acquisition than Southampton's own club-record signing, Dani Osvaldo.
The Italy international headbutted Saints captain Jose Fonte last January, leading to loan spells at Juventus and then Inter Milan.
The Nerazzurri have also have grown tired of the striker and are cutting his season-long loan short.
QPR were linked with Osvaldo a few weeks back but Press Association Sport reports the forward will be joining Boca Juniors of Argentina on loan.
"If he signs for Boca -- I saw something on the internet -- he's very happy," Koeman added. "I'm happy if he is happy and he can stay for some seasons, no problem."
Nobody at St Mary's will be sad to see Osvaldo depart, although the same cannot be said for the current crop.
Schneiderlin, Nathaniel Clyne and Rodriguez are among those being regularly linked with a move to pastures new at the end of the season.
Koeman accepts Southampton "will lose some players" this summer, but insists it will be nothing like last year's talent drain from St Mary's.
"I don't think so much as last season, but if we have this run until the end of the season, okay, we know we can't do the battle with the big ones," he said. "Then, OK, it's always a possibility that you will lose one or two players.
"[European football] maybe makes the choice for some players a little bit more difficult, yes, I agree."
Koeman's comments echo the pragmatic approach of Southampton, who are already succession planning.
Tonny Vilhena and Jordy Clasie at former club Feyenoord are among those players Saints are tracking, but Koeman moved to clear up quotes in his homeland about the pair.
"What I said is we have a scouting list," the Dutchman said. "When we need a midfield player in the control position and we need a player we have a scouting list and on that list is Clasie the player from Feyenoord as well, but I don't mention that we will buy the player.
"No, it's an option when we lose some players. It's good to have and to prepare yourselves and that's the job of the scouting people."