Steve Bruce has revealed Aston Villa could have entered into a deadline day battle with Sheffield Wednesday over Jordan Rhodes had Scott Hogan not become available.
Villa - who host Wednesday on Saturday - signed Hogan from Brentford in an £11million deal on the final day of the transfer window after a proposed move to West Ham United fell through.
The West Midlands outfit had seen a £10million package for Rhodes rejected earlier in the window and opted for Hogan at the 11th hour, effectively leaving Wednesday in a one-suitor market for the Middlesbrough striker.
And Rhodes did join Wednesday, initially on loan with a permanent deal to follow in the summer.
When asked if Villa could have reignited their interest in Rhodes had Hogan joined West Ham, boss Bruce said: "Erm, possibly."
Bruce - who guided Hull City to play-off final glory at the expense of Wednesday last season - said a deal for Hogan made more sense for Villa in financial terms as well as in meeting the needs of the squad.
"No disrespect to Scotty but he was cheaper,” Bruce said. “And in the end we went for him because I do believe his pace is a factor.
“I wanted to do something different with pace and Scotty Hogan has got that.
“His pace pushed me towards him.”
Hogan will be missing for the hosts at Villa Park today due to his on-going recovery from an ankle injury which has so far restricted him to only four appearances since his switch from Brentford.
All eyes then will be on Rhodes, who has netted three goals in eight appearances for Wednesday.
And Bruce says he knows all about the striker.
"He’s been a proven goalscorer at this level for many years,” the Villa boss said.
“He’ll be a threat tomorrow because over his career, he’s always been a threat.
“It’s a big investment that Sheffield Wednesday have made towards him and certainly him and Forestieri are as good as you get in this division.”
Bruce says he is looking forward to getting his teeth into the test of Wednesday on Saturday afternoon - insisting the clash should be a Premier League fixture.
He said: "They have found the stability they need and a good young coach.
“They did well last year and didn’t quite make it, and they are mounting a challenge this year.
“It shows you how hard it is to get out of this league when you see a team like Sheffield Wednesday still stuck.
“We are both massive clubs with big followings and this should be a Premier League fixture.
“It’s a game we will look forward to and hopefully win.”