Preston striker Eoin Doyle could be on his way back to Oldham Athletic on loan even though they might have to wait to play him again.
The Irishman scored 14 goals in 21 appearances for the League One outfit in the first half of the season.
His loan ended at the start of January but illness meant he was unable to play for the last couple of weeks of that spell.
The illness is likely to keep him out for another few weeks but Oldham still want to take Doyle back ready for when he has recovered.
Any deal would have to be done in the transfer window this month to enable him to play later in the season.
The Boundary Park outfit need Doyle’s firepower, having been dragged back into a relegation scrap.
His last game for them was on December 16, when Doyle scored in a 1-1 draw against Doncaster.
Since then, Oldham have not won for seven games in the league and have scored only four times.
Oldham manager Richie Wellens said: “We’re going to try and do Doyle, but there’s no point everybody saying, ‘Get Doyle’ because he’s not even fit until the middle of March. If we don’t start winning games until the middle of March, we are in serious trouble.
“If Doyle comes back in March and then we win every game from then until the end of the season, we’ll still be in trouble if we don’t address it now.”
Preston loaned Doyle to Oldham at the end of August, as he was not in Alex Neil’s first-team plans at Deepdale.
He found the net nine times in his first 11 matches and became a big crowd favourite.
Doyle is back with North End for the time being.
His last appearance in a Preston shirt was in the 1-0 win against Burton Albion on January 2 last year.
Later that month, he went on loan to Portsmouth for the rest of the season.
The change of manager at North End in the summer did not improve his chances of first-team football.
In August, clubs were not exactly queuing up for Doyle and his move to Oldham went through on the last day of the August window.
But his goals there caught the eye of a number of clubs and had he not been taken ill, there would have been quite a battle for his services this month.
For now, a loan looks the best option as he gets back to full fitness – with a sale in the summer.