Hartlepool United boss Chris Turner is unsure of the club's prospects of signing on-loan striker Roy O'Donovan permanently.
O'Donovan joined Pools from Sunderland last month and is due to stay at the League One club until the end of the season.
He scored a hat-trick in Saturday's win over Southend United, where he spent a spell on loan earlier in the campaign, and is out of contract at Sunderland in the summer.
Turner praised O'Donovan's contribution against Southend and is keeping an open mind about a more long-term arrangement for the Irishman.
"He's at a Premiership club and I think Roy realises himself that what he's getting at Sunderland will be very difficult to get again," said Turner. "But I really don't know what our chances are.
"I think we've lacked pace up the front for a number of seasons. He's proven now that he can score goals.
"When you're one-on-one with the keeper, they're the hardest chances, especially the second one because he had plenty of time to think about it. The last one was a great finish as well."
O'Donovan joined Sunderland in 2006, but has made just 19 appearances for the club and has also had loan spells at Blackpool and Dundee United.