In the end, 'Johnny X' wasn't required. For after suggesting just yesterday that Darel Russell wasn't the only show in City's midfield town, so Canary boss Glenn Roeder did indeed give the club's joint top-scorer a break from his stand-in striker duties and duly returned him to centre-midfield.
Whether or not the whole 'Not necessarily so…' routine at Colney yesterday was just a ruse for Paul Sturrock's benefit ahead of this afternoon's trip to Home Park was hard to tell.
At some stage last week, the Canary management clearly toyed with one or two other options ahead of handing Russell his old job back in the wake of Sammy Clingan's injury blow.
Perhaps all hung on whether or not the famed 'last piece in the jig-saw' – on-loan French forward Antione Sibierski – was deemed fit enough to start this afternoon's contest.
On his exit from the JJB Stadium an hour before the transfer deadline last week, the 34-year-old was reported to be suffering with a foot injury and – according to reports in the North-West – had been deemed unlikely to play again this month.
Again in the smoke and mirrors world of transfer deadlings, today's team news knocked that report into touch as Sibierski made his second debut under Roeder's management as he took his place alongside Arturo Lupoli up front.
With Russell and skipper Mark Fotheringham reunited in the centre of midfield, Matty Pattison's efforts ensured he kept his place on the right; Wes Hoolahan kept his berth on the left – those Ninian Park indiscretions behind him.
At the back and Roeder went with what now appears to be his first-choice option – his '?5 million' full-back pairing of Ryan Bertrand and Elliot Omosuzi reunited after the latter's slight thigh strain ruled him out of the Blues clash; Dejan Stefanovic and John Kennedy continuing to rule the roost in the centre.
With Jamie Cureton and Omar Koroma offering the attacking alternatives on the bench, the travelling City faithful were granted their first glimpse of Roeder's second transfer day loan arrival – Middlesbrough's Jonathan Grounds.
City (4-4-2): Marshall; Omosuzi, Bertrand, Kennedy, Stefanovic; Pattison, Fotheringham, Russell, Hoolahan; Sibierski, Lupoli. Subs (from): Nelson, Grounds, Croft, Cureton, Koroma.
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