Ricky Sbragia is optimistic he can persuade Djibril Cisse to stay at Sunderland on a permanent basis.
Cisse is on a season-long loan from Marseille and the French striker has scored eight Premier League goals for the Black Cats.
He recently suggested he would be keen to stay at the Stadium of Light, but reports have subsequently claimed the former Liverpool forward is unsure about his future.
Sbragia concedes Sunderland are unable to finalise a permanent deal while their top-flight status is in doubt, but he hopes Cisse will be at the club next season.
Climbing the ladder
"It's up to us to keep him," said Sbragia in the Sunday Mirror. "He has done exceptionally well for us.
"Until we get to the situation where we are safe it is difficult to do anything. But there is no recall clause and he will be our player until May 31.
"If we're safe with six games to go he can speak with Niall Quinn about what we'll do for him.
"If he scores 15 or 20 goals why look for someone else?
"I know Nicolas Anelka went to Bolton and did well, but I always thought he was set on climbing the ladder. Djibril could be the same, but I hope we can persuade him to stay."