Derby County intend to re-sign James Vaughan in January after confirming the Everton striker's loan has been cut short.
Vaughan joined the Rams last month and was due to stay until mid-December before he was forced to undergo a knee operation over two weeks ago.
The 21-year-old had made just two appearances for the Championship club before going under the knife and he is not expected to be back in action for at least another month.
Everton have agreed to cancel the loan agreement with Derby, who expect the forward to return to Pride Park in the New Year.
"We have been fortunate in dealing with Everton on this because they have been extremely flexible and very helpful," said chairman of football Adam Pearson told the Derby Evening Telegraph.
"They have cancelled James' loan contract on October 1 instead of December 19, and it will be reactivated on January 1.
"Obviously, for us to be able to come out of the loan without having to pay any money on it and therefore freeing a loan space up for another player while James gets fit is helpful.
"It is a fantastic gesture from Everton who, as normal, have handled themselves in a professional way."
Pearson added: "James is very, very keen to come back here.
"He enjoyed the experience and the manager saw enough of him in training to know exactly what type of lad he is and what his character is.
"We think he is a good addition to the team."