Alan Irvine is unsure if Preston North End can afford to sign Wayne Brown permanently as the defender prepares to return to Hull City.
Brown has spent the past month on loan at Preston and will head back to the KC Stadium after Tuesday's Championship game against Derby County.
Lilywhites boss Irvine admits there was never the expectation to extend Brown's loan and is now waiting to see what the future holds.
Irvine has intimated at an interest in bringing the 31-year-old back to Deepdale in January, but questions whether Brown would be prepared to accept a cut in salary.
Served its purpose
"Wayne has seen this as an opportunity to get some games, to let everybody know that he is out there and ready to play," Irvine told the club's official website.
"He'll go back to Hull, wait and see what happens between now and January and make a decision on his future at that point.
"It has served its purpose as far as Wayne is concerned, he will now go back to Hull, having played games, he'll wait and see if he gets back in the team in the period between now and January and that will no doubt affect his thinking about whether he has to move away from Hull or whether he is able to stay there.
"I don't know whether we could be in contention or not, because of the wages, but that's something that we have to just accept, it's something we have to be realistic about.
"People are keen to play football, good professionals like Wayne are desperate to play, but I don't think they will take a big drop in wages in order to do so - I wouldn't!"