Rochdale boss Keith Hill admits it is a 'must' that on-loan Oldham Athletic striker Chris O'Grady stays at Spotland.
O'Grady has scored nine goals in 20 appearances during his loan spell at Dale, but is due to return to Oldham in January.
The 23-year-old admitted last week that he is keen to stay with the League Two club and hopes he will not be sold by the Latics.
Though Dale are short on transfer funds, Hill has informed the board of the need for O'Grady to remain with the club in the New Year.
"Even a blind man can see we have to sign O'Grady," stated Hill.
"He's a must for us and I've made that clear to those who make the decisions."