Martin O'Neill expects Emile Heskey to have no shortage of suitors in the summer after his recent displays for club and country.
O'Neill, who worked with the England international at Leicester before his £11million move to Leicester, takes his Aston Villa side to Wigan on Sunday wary of the threat posed by the powerful forward.
Heskey is out of contract at the end of the season and has been tipped for a move away from the JJB Stadium.
The much-maligned forward is an integral part of Steve Bruce's side and is also part of Fabio Capello's first XI with England, despite still struggling to find the net on a regular basis.
O'Neill would not be drawn on whether he would be making a play for Heskey's services in the summer, but he did not make any statements to rule out an approach.
He said: "When his confidence is high he is a player, strong, a handful, and he is now starting to go past players again.
"The thing that has always been levelled at him is that he has never scored enough goals, and it would be hard for him to say otherwise.
"But the Emile Heskey I know is the one who thundered past the full-back and made the goal for Wayne Rooney the other day. That is the Emile Heskey I fondly remember.
"So I have the utmost regard for him, and what he does for the rest of his life is down to him.
"If he does allow his contract to run out he will have a number of suitors because he has done very well, and that's of great credit to him.
"With his contract up in the summer, and with the way he is playing for Wigan and England, it would be difficult not to see him pushed back in the limelight.
"That's down to him, and to Steve Bruce, who has had a very good influence on his career, and Emile has warmed to that."