If all fingers were pointing towards Jonathan Grounds as the young man to fill John Kennedy's boots tomorrow, that suited the 20-year-old just fine.
It was, after all, the reason why the on-loan Middlesbrough defender arrived in Norfolk on loan earlier this month – to get games.
And while no-one likes to see a fellow professional get injured – not least someone with the wretched record of the luckless Kennedy – there is no doubt that a big opportunity now knocks for yet another of Teesside's finest as Sheffield United roll into view.
It's not as if he hasn't bumped into Mr Beattie before; the two locked horns in the FA Cup last season.
“I played against Sheffield United in the cup last year with Middlesbrough,” said Grounds, fresh from making his second substitute's appearance in a Canary shirt on Wednesday night as Kennedy made his way gingerly to the sidelines – his right ankle swelling up like the proverbial and much-feared balloon.
With City boss Glenn Roeder revealing that (a) it could sideline the on-Cletic star for up to “three to four weeks” and that (b) he didn't deem on-loan Spurs Reserves skipper Troy Archibald-Henville as quite ready for the job just yet, so Grounds may get more than this weekend's chance to re-unite himself with Beattie, Billy Sharp and Co.
“I know what will be in store for me – and I look forward to the battle.”
Consult the record books and Grounds actuall has more experience than most of what awaits tomorrow. For that fifth round FA Cup tie proved something of a war of attrition. Goalless in the first game at Bramall Lane, it was goalless – and, in every probability, soulless – in the replay at the Riverside until the 114th minute of the contest.
Six minutes away from penalties and it needed a Paddy Kenny own goal to take Boro' through to the sixth round. That's three-and-a-half hours in Mr Beattie's company.
“They're quite a direct team,” said Grounds, as he delivered his very own scouting report to the Press at Colney this morning.
“They have two strong boys up front who like to hold the ball up; they like to go from back to front quickly and get the ball in the box which we will have to defend well against.”
All of which hasn't happened in his first two games; certainly not by the time he arrived on the scene on Wednesday night.
“At the back it was quite comfortable with them only having ten men and one striker up, so it'll be different tomorrow,” said Grounds, well aware that his two appearances thus far have both been against sides with one man less than the usual complement.
From first glance, he is more than comfortable on the ball. And more than at ease moving out of defence with the ball at his feet. Aiming for Row Z is not his first instinct.
“I do like to get on the ball,” he said. “I've had a good up-bringing at Middlesbrough and I love to get involved. I get more opportunities [to get forward] at left-back, but definitely at centre-half, if I get the chance to step in I will do.”
It was, he said, a big, tough ask against Rangers once they'd got their noses in front. Even with one body less.
“It was very difficult after they went 1-0 up. They just sat eight men behind the ball and kind of asked us to break them down which was very difficult – they were very organised and very disciplined.”
He has, however, still been impressed with who and what he's seen – notwithstanding the recent loss of both Kennedy and Sammy Clingan from Roeder's starting thoughts.
“The quality of the squad is very good. It's a young squad; very fit. And there's lots of talent here.”
And lots of supporters. The Riverside, of late at least, has become famed for the rows of empty seats. The average attendance thus far this season has been just 21,639 – some 13,000 seats short of its 35,000 capacity.
Wednesday night and once again, there was barely a spare seat at Carrow Road as 25,000 fans gathered for the visit of Rangers. All of which was noted.
“It's not like that at Middlesbrough – it was very good with a full crowd,” said their one-time Youth product who – having broken into their Reserve team aged 17 – is now determined not to return to whence he came.
“And it does make a big difference. Obviously it's a big cliche that it's the 12th man, but a lot of the times it is. It helps you when the crowd gets behind you and makes you want to push that little bit more.”
Grounds also had a chance to assess what Norwich might offer before he arrived after consulting the luckless Matthew Bates whose own brief loan spell in Norfolk last season ended with his third cruciate knee ligament rupture in no more than 18 months.
“I spoke to him about the hotel where I'd be staying; the boys; what they were like. And he only had good things to say about the place.
“He didn't have the luckiest time down here – he's had a nightmare with injuries and he's currently out injured now and working his way back, but Matthew's a top player and he'll be back.”