Hull City entertain Blackburn Rovers at the KC Stadium on Saturday with both teams looking for a win that would significantly ease their Premier League relegation fears.
With Sam Allardyce back in the Rovers dugout following heart surgery and instrumental Tigers midfielder Jimmy Bullard ruled out through injury, the clubs have had differing fortunes going into the clash.
Allardyce underwent the surgeon's knife at the end of November as he required angioplasty, a procedure to widen a narrowed coronary artery.
Deputy manager Neil McDonald took charge and watched Rovers end a miserable run on the road by beating Bolton Wanderers. They also lost at Fulham, drew at home to Stoke City, beat Chelsea on penalties in the Carling Cup and grabbed a point against Liverpool last weekend.
Rovers have failed to score in their last three Premier League outings and the management will be looking to Croatia striker Nikola Kalinic, Jason Roberts, Benni McCarthy and Franco Di Santo to turn the tide.
Phil Brown's Hull side are without Bullard, who won the Premier League Player of the Month Award for November.
The loveable star hadn't long been back from injury and, after playing important roles in the recent games against Stoke City, Manchester City and West Ham United, the former Fulham man crumbled in a heap with another knee injury at Aston Villa last weekend.
Following a scan, the club's fears were confirmed and he will miss between six and eight weeks which comes as a bitter blow for Brown.
Despite the disappointing loss at Villa last time out, the Tigers should take hope from their excellent results in November.
Two wins and two draws have hauled them outside the relegation places and another success on Saturday would further propel them away from the dreaded drop-zone.
Bullard joins long-term absentee Ian Ashbee on the sidelines as well as Seyi Olofinjana, who remains out with a hamstring injury he picked up on international duty.
David Dunn is Rovers' only concern with a hamstring complaint.