James McFadden is being lined up for a return to action in the upcoming St Andrews showdown with Everton.
The Birmingham forward underwent surgery on a knee injury last week, but has indicated to boss Alex McLeish that he expects to be back in first-team contention inside three weeks.
There is an outside chance of him being involved against fellow strugglers Wigan on 5th April, but a home encounter against his former employers seven days later looks like a more realistic option.
"To lose McFadden, after the impact he has made since coming in, is a tough loss," admitted McLeish.
"It is like one of the big guns losing one of their best players.
"We don't have an absolute surplus of players who can do what James can do. That is without being disrespectful to the boys. He can bring something different so obviously we will miss a player like that.
"McFadden is in good spirits. He was jumping about the other day saying he would be back in a fortnight rather than three weeks but we will leave it at the three week mark at the moment for the Everton game.
"If he makes progress earlier than that, it will be a bonus. But the smart money is on the Everton game."
The Scottish coach also revealed that he is yet to make a decision on whether to replace the suspended Liam Ridgewell with Martin Taylor for Saturday's home clash with Manchester City.
Taylor has made just one appearance for the reserves since his infamous tackle on Arsenal striker Eduardo, and will face stiff competition from Franck Queudrue, Rafael Schmitz and Radhi Jaidi for a starting spot.
"Taylor is in contention, Queudrue is in contention, Schmitz is in contention," said McLeish.
"We have choices there and we've got to find what we feel is the right formula for any particular game.
"We've tried Franck at centre-back in recent reserve games and he's solid in there.
"He is very aggressive in the air and I know he has played there before for Middlesbrough so there is an option there.
"I know Jaidi has taken a bit of criticism for losing his marker for the deciding goal at Reading but I don't think he has played badly and I am very loath to decimate the team every other week.
"Martin Taylor is ready fitness-wise but I have got to consider if it significantly improves the team.
"I think most of our centre-halves are a much of a muchness. There is good competition between them and I don't think there has been one that is clearly more outstanding than another and they are all justifiably fighting for a spot."