Everton manager David Moyes admits he had striker Rickie Lambert under consideration for a move to Goodison Park before he joined tomorrow's opponents Southampton.
The 30-year-old frontman has enjoyed a rags-to-riches career having been released by Blackpool almost 12 years ago and has played a key role in Saints' promotion to the Barclays Premier League.
But had things taken a different path Lambert, who has scored 82 goals in 137 league appearances for the south coast outfit, could have been lining up against Nigel Adkins' side and not for them.
"He was in my attention when he was at Bristol Rovers (between 2006 and 2009)," said Moyes.
"Round that time we were looking around the leagues to see and we took Jermaine Beckford when Rickie was just about to go to Southampton.
"We were well aware of him and his goalscoring and he had done great.
"It is great credit to the boys who come through the leagues - it shows a great deal of hunger and perseverance to get through to the top and he's done that.
"There are a few - (Norwich striker) Grant Holt comes to mind - who have shown that route can be done.
"You can get released and it does not mean it is the end.
"What you have to do is go away and work at your game and what Rickie has done over the years is keep scoring goals wherever he has been.
"He deserves credit from working his way up from the bottom to the top."
Moyes is looking for a reaction from his players after an understrength side exited the Capital One Cup against Leeds in midweek.
And he has already brushed that result under the carpet, preferring instead to concentrate on the impressive start to the season the Toffees have made with 10 points from five matches which puts them in third place.
"We have got to really talk about how well Everton have done," added the Scot.
"We went to Leeds and didn't do well and we went to West Brom (losing 2-0) and didn't play that well.
"But overall no-one can doubt the way the players have played and their attitude and performance has been fantastic and we've started well so we wanted to keep that going.
"We have done okay in 2012 but we are not the sort of people here who get carried away with ourselves and we have to keep going.
"We have Southampton at home and if we take three points from that and then it cements us in a lofty position early on in the season."
Moyes will bring striker Nikica Jelavic, who has been one of the reasons the Toffees have been so strong since his arrival in January, back into the starting line-up tomorrow.
He missed last week's win at Swansea with a leg injury but got a run out as a substitute at Leeds and is ready to go from the off now.
"He hadn't trained much but we thought it may be the chance to give him time as needed (at Leeds) and he got 25 to 30 minutes so hopefully that will help him," said Moyes.
The Everton boss also confirmed former Aston Villa and West Ham midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger, a free agent after leaving Wolfsburg last season will continue to train with the club.
"It is going to be a while until we are able to make a decision," he said.
"He is building his fitness and enjoying doing the football work and we will step his work up next week but there will be no quick decision on that."
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