Squad depth will be crucial from this point on, from the Premier League downwards.
Those with the ability to freshen up their side at regular intervals will be expected to fare positively over the remaining months of the campaign.
Tiredness will take its toll, injuries and suspensions will stack up and managers will find themselves down to the bare bones.
That is why the January transfer window has become so important, with bosses able to strengthen in key areas.
McClaren told the club’s official website: “Chrissy Martin has nearly played every minute of every game. Leon Best has been unfortunate that Chrissy has been in such good form.
“It is very frustrating for him to play behind him, but Darren has got to come in and fight for that place and sometimes play with him and sometimes play on his own.
“It might give us a chance to rest Chrissy and make sure we have that freshness towards the end of the season.”
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Bent has already spent time in the second-tier this season with Brighton & Hove Albion.
He enjoyed a productive spell on the south coast, with the goals returning to his game.
With the door still bolted at Villa another move was expected in the New Year and the 30-year-old former England international will be hoping to prove that he is not a spent force.