Sam Allardyce admits he would have tried to bring James Beattie back to Blackburn Rovers, if Roque Santa Cruz had been sold.
Beattie started his career at Ewood Park before leaving for Southampton in 1998 and will face his first club on Saturday.
The 31-year-old clinched a return to the Premier League with Stoke City in January after spending 18 months with Sheffield United.
However, he was an option for Blackburn boss Allardyce, who was concerned Santa Cruz could have left the club during the January transfer window.
Allardyce is a big fan of Beattie, but admits he did not have the money to sign the former England international unless Santa Cruz moved on.
"We could only afford James if we sold Roque Santa Cruz and I didn't want to sell him," admitted Allardyce.
"He would have been one of the options had we sold Roque, though, and for three reasons.
"Firstly, he used to play for Blackburn and support them. Secondly, he's very experienced in the Premier League and, thirdly, he had a desire to be back in the top flight.
"Buying James and Matthew Etherington in the transfer window has paid major dividends for Stoke.
"James has scored some very important goals for them."