Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray has hinted he would be willing to let Hibernian extend defender Jonathan Grounds' stay.
The 22-year-old joined the Edinburgh club on loan until the end of January before the summer transfer window closed.
Grounds has been a regular under Hibs' new manager Colin Calderwood, who is keen to extend the stopper's stay.
Mowbray has been pleased with Joe Bennett's form, while he can also recall Andy Taylor from Watford in the New Year so could allow Grounds to stay.
"There are financial implications to think about and I'll be assessing things in due course," Mowbray told The Scotsman.
"In my mind I have a pretty good left-footed defender playing in the team at the moment.
"I have to give some thought on what's best for the squad and the team."
Calderwood has confirmed he has held talks with Mowbray regarding Grounds, although he believes it is too early to finalise details.
"I've spoken to Tony Mowbray but it is something we have to leave until we get nearer the end of his loan, probably mid-way through January," he said.
"It's not been decided one way or the other. First and foremost it will be their decision."