Wigan manager Roberto Martinez expects on-loan Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley to be recalled early in the new year.
The England Under 21 international, who helped the Young Lions book their place in next summer's European Championship on Tuesday, is on a season-long loan deal at the DW Stadium.
However, United can ask for their player to return under the terms of the contract, with manager Sir Alex Ferguson hinting last week that a January recall was on the cards.
And Martinez feels that scenario is likely as the Red Devils look to plug the gap left by injured midfielder Antonio Valencia.
"Obviously the injury to Antonio Valencia has increased the chance of Tom going back to United," Martinez told the Wigan Evening Post.
"There has been no contact between the two sides, but it is only natural what is occurring because Tom is such a good player.
"We all know how highly United rate Tom - that's why we had to do everything we could to get him here in the first place.
"I have always said that we have to enjoy him for every day he is here - just as we want Tom to enjoy being here at Wigan Athletic. And that's all that matters, for however long that period might be.
"It's only a matter of time before Tom is playing at the very top level with United. It's not if, but when."
Cleverley has endured a frustrating start to his career with the Latics, sustaining a knee injury in training which has restricted his involvement.
But after proving his fitness while representing England, the 21-year-old is back in contention for Wigan's trip to Newcastle on Sunday.
"Tom has played very well for the England Under 21s and has suffered no after-effects to the injury he suffered last month," added Martinez.
"We have all seen him in training and you can see by the way he behaves around the place that he is going to be a top, top footballer. And he will be.
"He will be in contention for the Newcastle game but, from then on, whatever will be will be."