Alex McLeish insists Alexander Hleb still has time to impress and earn a permanent move to Birmingham.
The midfielder, who joined the Blues on loan from Barcelona in the summer, has had a stop-start spell at St Andrews since his arrival due to various injuries.
Hleb, who has not featured for Birmingham since the end of January, is set to return to McLeish's line-up for Saturday's FA Cup fifth-round clash with Sheffield Wednesday.
The Belarus international will use that outing as a chance to prove his worth to McLeish ahead of the Blues' Carling Cup final clash at Arsenal next weekend, when he could go up against his former club.
And while the manager refuses to discuss Hleb's future with the Midlanders, he says there is plenty of time for the former Gunners man to prove his worth before the end of the season.
"Everybody knows what Alex can do when he's at the right level," McLeish told the Daily Star.
"It's not crunch time for him - he still has plenty of time to impress.
"But there's no point talking about what might happen next season.
"If Alex can produce some of his magic in one game then he can be worth his weight in gold now."