Preston manager Phil Brown has blocked Paul Hayes' potential loan switch to Derby County because they are a Championship rival.
The 27-year-old had been tipped to leave Deepdale on loan having failed to secure regular first-team football following his Scunthorpe switch last summer.
Hayes has been limited to only 19 appearances for North End this season and he spent a loan spell at Barnsley in October.
Derby were keen to bring Hayes to Pride Park, but Brown is reluctant to allow the striker to join a relegation rival, although he would consider a lower league side.
"I wasn't prepared to lend Paul to Derby," he told the Lancashire Evening Post. "Why should I benefit any football club in and around where we are in the Championship?
"I have had regular chats with Paul, he is frustrated and just wants to play, which I can understand. He is willing to go out on loan and that is something we have talked about.
"It would only be if it was right for me as manager of Preston North End. If it was a club higher up the table or in another division, maybe it would happen."