Everton manager David Moyes admits he had striker Rickie Lambert under consideration for a move to Goodison Park before he joined Saturday's opponents Southampton.
The 30-year-old frontman has enjoyed a rags-to-riches career having been released by Blackpool almost 12 years ago and has played a key role in Saints' promotion to the Barclays Premier League.
But had things taken a different path Lambert, who has scored 82 goals in 137 league appearances for the south coast outfit, could have been lining up against Nigel Adkins' side and not for them.
``He was in my attention when he was at Bristol Rovers (between 2006 and 2009),'' said Moyes.
``Round that time we were looking around the leagues to see and we took Jermaine Beckford when Rickie was just about to go to Southampton.
``We were well aware of him and his goalscoring and he had done great.
``It is great credit to the boys who come through the leagues - it shows a great deal of hunger and perseverance to get through to the top and he's done that.
``There are a few - (Norwich striker) Grant Holt comes to mind - who have shown that route can be done.
``You can get released and it does not mean it is the end.
``What you have to do is go away and work at your game and what Rickie has done over the years is keep scoring goals wherever he has been.
``He deserves credit from working his way up from the bottom to the top.''
Moyes will bring striker Nikica Jelavic, who has been one of the reasons the Toffees have been so strong since his arrival in January, back into his starting line-up.
He missed last week's win at Swansea with a leg injury but got a run out as a substitute at Leeds and is ready to go from the off now.
``He hadn't trained much but we thought it may be the chance to give him time as needed (at Leeds) and he got 25 to 30 minutes so hopefully that will help him,'' said Moyes.
Fellow forward Victor Anichebe has a chest infection while Seamus Coleman and Steven Naismith are also doubts, with defender Tony Hibbert and midfielder Darron Gibson still out.
Meanwhile, Southampton manager Nigel Adkins insists the fact he is a Liverpool fan does not provide any extra incentive to win at Everton.
The Saints boss grew up on Merseyside and was a schoolboy at Liverpool, before moving on to Tranmere and coming through the youth system there.
Adkins - like talisman Lambert - supports the Anfield club, making the trip to Goodison Park all the more intriguing.
The Southampton boss, though, was quick to downplay his connections to the red side of the city in the build-up.
``Whoever we play against we want to go and win a game of football,'' Adkins said.
``There are three teams on Merseyside: Liverpool, Everton and Tranmere.
``Obviously I played for Tranmere as an apprentice and a professional and I used to stand behind the goal and run onto the pitch after the game to try and get Ronnie Moore's tie-ups.
``It is great to see Tranmere Rovers doing so well with Ronnie in charge.
``I was actually a schoolboy at Liverpool but before I signed for them I had a couple of weeks at Everton.
``I decided to go to Liverpool and then I want to Tranmere after that.
``Goodison Park has a great atmosphere. They are passionate football supporters there so I am looking forward to it because there will be a great atmosphere.''
Southampton will have to do with Jack Cork on Merseyside after the midfielder injured his left knee in Tuesday's Capital One Cup third-round victory over Sheffield Wednesday - his first game back after sustaining an ankle complaint in pre-season.
Japan international Tadanari Lee will also miss out with an elbow injury, while Emmanuel Mayuka and Luke Shaw are both doubts with an ankle problem and illness respectively.
Adam Lallana is available after the birth of his son and new signing Artur Boruc could be involved in the squad for the first time.