So Nicky Maynard is hoping to get his chance against Southampton. He might do. If we are a goal behind with 20 minutes to play, or Cole runs out of steam and needs to be replaced - but then Vaz Te is his more probable like for like replacement. Big Sam wants a big man to lead the line.
But start? Against Southampton in a crucial six pointer? Very little chance because that would mean going 4-4-2, and Allardyce isn't going to take that chance in such a big game.
But by failing to do so, he may give Southampton the game on a plate. Look at the goal scoring potential of the two teams if we set up 4-5-1 without Nolan, and you have to say that the Saints would be your favourites to put the ball in the onion bag. And give them a lead and I suspect we will find it very difficult to claw them back and nigh on impossible to get our noses in front.
I posted on Saturday that I expected Taylor to replace Nolan, with Collison coming inside and Taylor going wide left. There is a chance, a slim one but a chance, of Vaz Te starting on the left and Taylor coming in to the middle, with Collison dropping out, but the prospects of a conventional 4-4-2, using Maynard alongside Cole, must be as slim as Keira Knightley on a diet.
The game is fraught with dangers in my book. Lallana, Sharp and Lambert must be favourites to get at least one goal between them - and with our goal per game return since the beginning of December, that spells big danger. But Doctor Evil will see the threat and protect caution from the wind.