Sunderland boss Ricky Sbragia admits he may recall Paul McShane from Hull City if he fails to sign a new defender.
Sbragia is looking to bring in an experienced centre-half during the January transfer window and has enquired about players.
He insists he will not be held to ransom in his pursuit of his targets and will also not be looking abroad for new recruits.
And Sbragia concedes that failure to add to his squad this month could lead to McShane being recalled from his season-long loan with the Tigers.
"We've had a feeler out for a couple of players, but I think we've lost one of those already," said Sbragia in the Northern Echo.
"It's no secret that I need defenders, but that doesn't necessarily mean having to buy anyone.
"George McCartney has a chance of coming back in two weeks' time and we have Paul McShane out on loan, so there might be a thought of bringing him in.
"I definitely won't be held to ransom with some of the quotes that have been put towards us, and I definitely won't be going for a foreigner this time. It would take a foreigner too much time to bed in.
"I'd like to add another one, but we know Paul is there so he's a possibility. There are another couple of players we're thinking about, but if it doesn't happen, we have him.
"If other things come off, I'll leave Paul out on loan."