Martin O'Neill will hold talks next week with Aston Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie over his future after the completion of a three-month loan period at Stoke City.
O'Neill admitted that Hendrie returning to the Potteries club until the end of the season was a possibility to be discussed with the 28-year-old.
Hendrie has been with Villa since he was a trainee and has made it clear he wants to eventually return and battle for his place.
But he would appear to be well down the pecking order despite Villa having one of the smallest squads in the Barclays Premiership.
O'Neill said: 'Lee's three-month loan period is up after this Saturday. We will be assessing every situation after the weekend. There will be a decision by the time we play on Saturday week.
'What you can do is you can extend the loan but it does not allow any recall and it would then go on until the end of the season. I will assess things during the next week.
'Lee and I will sit down. Lee has been a Villa man all his life and this is where his heart is. I am quite sure Lee would want to come back.'
Hendrie's recall would at least give O'Neill another option given the way his squad has been ravaged by injury.
The latest casualty is striker Chris Sutton who suffered blurred vision during the home game with Manchester United and he will be side-lined for at least six weeks.
O'Neill confirmed: 'We've had bad news about Chris Sutton. He went to see the specialist and they've advised him not to play for six weeks. It's concussion and blurred vision.
'It is a big blow to us and him. To be on the safe side, the neuro surgeon wants him to rest. He has not got proper vision. The prognosis is it will get better but while you have blurred vision, you can't play.'
Sutton joined Villa on a short-term contract until the end of the season in late September and has gradually built up his fitness after a groin operation in the summer.
His goal against Everton secured Villa's only away win to date this season in the Barclays Premiership.
But now O'Neill has only Milan Baros, Juan Pablo Angel and Gabriel Agbonlahor at his disposal to play up front and he is certain to try and strengthen that department of the side in January.