Jerome Thomas has been told he can still win himself a place in Steve Clarke's long-term plans at West Bromwich Albion - despite being shunted out on loan to Leeds United.
The 29-year-old winger has not kicked a ball in anger for Albion's new head coach, after missing the entire season so far because of a knee injury, which also kept him out of pre-season training.
Thomas is currently at Elland Road and is wanted permanently by Leeds manager Neil Warnock, when his loan spell ends in January. Leeds' new owners GFH Capital are keen to negotiate a transfer deal next month.
He has six months remaining on his existing contract at the Hawthorns and no negotiations have taken place over a new deal, but Thomas has been impressive in his short spell in the Championship and that may yet earn him a longer stay with Albion.
Peter Odemwingie's expected participation in the African Cup of Nations in January could present an opportunity for the former Arsenal winger and Albion's joint-head coach Keith Downing believes Thomas can still play a major role during the second-half of the campaign.
"The reason Jerome went out was to get games under his belt. Steve found he couldn't give that regularity of games so we wanted him to go out and get some football," said Downing.
"It's a case of go out and play as much as you can over the Christmas period and prove your fitness. We're not shutting the door at all on Jerome. We can't fit him in at the moment.
"We wanted him to go out to play football, work hard at his game and get himself fully fit and it will do him the power of good to be at Leeds."