Graham Kavanagh has admitted he may have to leave Sunderland on a permanent basis in order to secure first-team football.
The midfielder is currently on loan at Sheffield Wednesday as he builds match fitness following a long-term knee injury.
Sunderland manager Roy Keane is thought to be keen for Kavanagh - who joined the Black Cats from Wigan in 2006 - to return to Wearside when he recovers full fitness.
However, Kavanagh insists his priority is regular first-team football and if this is not available at the Stadium of Light then he will be forced to look elsewhere.
"I'd been out for a while and the gaffer (Keane) said that I needed games," Kavanagh told the Northern Echo. "I knew myself that I did.
"Hopefully, it's (the loan move to Wednesday) all for the good of getting fit again and back in the team at Sunderland.
"But if that isn't going to happen, so be it. I'll have to start looking at my options and see what's available."
Kavanagh, though, says he is enjoying life at Hillsborough and is focused upon helping the Owls, who sit second bottom in the Championship, climb the table.
"At the moment, I'm just enjoying playing and being involved at Sheffield Wednesday," added Kavanagh. "It's a huge club and it shouldn't be in the position it's in.
"The knee's fantastic now. I haven't had one problem, and long may it continue. But I need a run of games because I want to have a long spell where I stay injury free."