Steve Bruce warned his Sunderland defenders to be on top of their game to cope with the significant threat of Bolton striker Kevin Davies on Tuesday night.
Bruce tried and failed to sign the 32-year-old frontman during his time in charge at Birmingham, and remains an admirer of a player who seems to have as many critics as he does fans, but he is hoping his improving defence can keep Davies at bay at the Stadium of Light.
Bruce said: "He is very clever, very, very good at what he does. He has played in the Premier League now for years and let's be fair, he has been Bolton's talisman for years. I would love to see their results without him when he is not playing."
He added: "He has led Bolton from the front years after year, and he keeps doing it.
"At the weekend, the report I have just got, Kevin Davies was their star man again. He is paramount to what they do.
"I tried to sign him on a couple of occasions, unsuccessfully, but I like everything that goes with him as a footballer.
"He is big, uncompromising, gets on with it, tough as they come. He is a handful, that's for sure."