Derby County manager Nigel Clough is hoping to release several members of his squad during the January transfer window.
Midfielder Stephen Pearson, currently on loan at Championship rivals Bristol City, and goalkeeper Stephen Bywater could be among the first to leave the club in the New Year.
Pearson made his seventh appearance for City on Boxing Day while Bywater has recently returned from a loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday, who remain keen to sign him either on loan again or on a permanent deal.
"I think we are getting close with Pearo', his is the deal closest to being done at the moment," said Clough in the Derby Evening Telegraph.
"Talks are ongoing regarding Stephen and four or five others."
Pearson and Bywater are out of contract at the end of the season along with defender Dean Leacock and midfielder David Martin, both of whom have not featured for the first team this season.
Midfielder Lee Croft has not played since the defeat at Middlesbrough on 22nd October and forward Tomasz Cywka has made only one start in the last two months.