Striker Bobby Zamora should be used to watching from the sidelines by now. The ex-West Ham player has only played twice since his horrific injury gained in September 2010, both times coming off the bench.
Still, though, a fine run of form for Mark Hughes and his Fulham side mean that Zamora, despite his indisputable talent, faces an extended stay on the very sidelines from which he is desperate to escape.
'Fair enough', you may say. 'He hasn't played in months', you may claim, yet, Bobby Zamora is one of a special few who should be given game time under any circumstances.
Of course, there is the age-old rule that no player is guaranteed a place in the first team and that only those in the best of form will be selected. However, as with any rule, there are exceptions. Zamora is one of those.
While Moussa Dembele, Andy Johnson and Clint Dempsey continue their tantalizing form, one would assume there is no room for another forward, but, when you take into account the credentials of the very forward who threatens the aforementioned three, thinking again would be a recommended process. It's difficult to comment on Zamora's form, granted, but skill? There's a whole host of it in that lad.
His hold up play is excellent. Arguably the best in England. Yes, hold up play isn't everything, but you'd be wise to pay attention as to how far his hoarding of the ball helped us cruise to the Europa League Final last term. And, you'd also be wise to notice how much we missed him when injury plagued him in that very final.
Goals are part of his forte too. They weren't at first, as I'm sure we're all aware. I had even jumped onto the 'ditch Bobby' bandwagon when Hull City made a move for him the Summer before last, however, his sharpness and eye for a goal improved no-end last term, with the now Nationally-accredited striker leading our scoring charts with an astute nineteen goals. Not bad considering he lead the line in a predominantly defensive-minded team.
Now, if Bobby is to re-certify his first team place, he's going to have to prove himself better than the Dembele-Johnson partnership which has flourished in recent weeks. I'd suggest he would have no problems achieving such a feat, but, those of a conservative nature could easily argue that 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.'
Fair enough, it may not be broken, but it's not formidable either. Not to detract from their blatant ability, but, AJ and his Belgian counterpart are no Batman and Robin when it comes to partnerships. They're good, but not perfect. They cause problems and they do, on occasion, score goals. Just not enough of them. Increasingly, it comes down to the likes of Damien Duff and even Danny Murphy to get our goals, when really, Dembele and Johnson should be fulfilling their duties as 'goalscorers'.
I accept that football isn't really as simple as that. The pair are employed to do far more than score goals, yet, that only supports a re-call to the side for Bobby even further. As mentioned, he doesn't just score goals. He does far more than that. More than Dembele or Johnson can even imagine.
As to who Zamora should replace; God knows. He knows Johnson well and has worked with him before, but the thought of Dembele teaming up with the England man has me frothing at the mouth (as well as my recent dental visit). A sensible compromise then, would be a rotational policy between both Johnson and Dembele until it becomes clear who works best with Zamora.
Despite all of this, it's more than likely that the thirty year-old will spend more time watching than he will playing over the coming weeks, as Hughes sticks to his guns and what he knows best. Once in a while, it'd be nice for managers to take a risk, but you can guarantee that Sparky will only be knocking on Bobby's door when the goals inevitably dry up.
It won't be long.