Stuart Gray, the Sheffield Wednesday boss, has not given up hope of bringing Lewis McGugan back to Hillsborough.
The creative midfielder returned to parent club Watford in early January, having featured seven times during a productive loan spell with the Owls.
The Nottingham-born player is currently not training with Watford’s first-team squad and been told he is free to leave Vicarage Road.
The Star understands the Hornets would prefer to sell McGugan for a transfer fee than allow him to depart on loan.
Speaking at his pre-match briefing ahead of tomorrow’s home clash against Birmingham City, Gray said: “Lewis is a top midfielder who has got 40 plus goals in his career.
“He came here and we had to get him match fit so we probably didn’t see the best of him until the end of his loan period.
“We wanted to extend it and Lewis was keen to stay but Watford didn’t allow it.
“Watford have brought in Ben Watson from Wigan so that might allow us to bring in Lewis. I am always interested in bringing in players who are better than the ones we have got.
“If there is a chance, I will keep plugging away.”
Gary Madine played the final match of his loan spell at Coventry City on Saturday. The Owls striker missed a penalty in the Sky Blues’ goalless draw at Yeovil Town.
His loan agreement officially ends on Friday and Madine has admitted he would be happy to stay at the Ricoh Arena.
Gray, who has dismissed reports linking them with forward Jimmy Kebe, said: “We will welcome Gary back. He’s got game time under his belt.
“Whether Gary comes in and that allows someone else to go out on loan, we will have to wait and see. He will comeback fit. He wasn’t getting a run in our first-team.
“He’s a Sheffield Wednesday player unless I get a call or Gary says he wants to leave. We will have to sit down and discuss that with him.”
The Wednesday chief said Coventry have not expressed an interest in signing Madine on a permanent basis.
“All they asked me for was to take him on loan,” said Gray, who has confirmed the Owls have received a couple of “tenative inquiries” for back-up goalkeeper Chris Kirkland. “We have not had that conversation with them (Coventry).”