Hibernian manager Alan Stubbs says Islam Feruz is free to return to Chelsea next month if he is unwilling to fight for a place in the team.
However, Stubbs is adamant he wants to hold on to the player.
Feruz, 20, has failed to make a single start for Hibs since arriving on a season-long loan. The former Celtic youth has made five appearances from the bench and is yet to score.
“If he decides that he wants to go back to Chelsea then that will be his decision, but my preferred option would be for him to stay and fight for his place,” Stubbs said.
“If he goes back it will be not through ourselves. We are not looking at anyone leaving, but I can understand that Izzy [Feruz] would have liked more game time. I have tried to mix it here and there when I could without affecting the balance of the team too much.
“Every player needs to understand that, when the team is winning, they are the ones who deserve to keep the shirt.”