Joe Murphy's loan deal with Walsall is due to expire at the end of the week but the Republic of Ireland international has expressed his desire to stay with the League One side rather than return to Sunderland.
Murphy, who will not play in tonight's FA Cup third round replay with Barnsley, is due to feature in his last game on Saturday when Walsall visit Chesterfield unless an extension or even a permanent deal can be agreed before then.
Manager Paul Merson is keen to keep the former West Bromwich Albion man but the chances of that happening rest solely with his counterpart at the Stadium of Light - Mick McCarthy.
Murphy said: "I want to stay here and play regular first-team football but it's not in my hands. It's down to Sunderland. They are willing to let me go but only if they can bring in some cover.
"I have had discussions with both Mick McCarthy and Paul Merson about what's going to happen, but things are out of my hands. I need to be playing regularly and I'm happy to stay at Walsall at least until the end of the season."
Andy Oakes will return in goal for tonight's tie as Walsall look to bounce back from the 2-0 home defeat against Colchester United on Saturday.
That loss was their first at Bescot Stadium since September and they could not hope for any better guests - Barnsley have never beaten Merson's men in a cup competition.
With James Constable cup-tied and loan signing Grant Smith not allowed to play, the manager's attacking options are severely depleted once again.
The likeliest solution is that midfielder Mads Timm and winger Kevin James will play up front as they did when the sides drew 1-1 at Oakwell ten days ago. Ishmel Demontagnac could be in for a recall after being suspended and then sleeping in and missing the trip to Bristol City.
Merson, meanwhile, is hoping to sign striker Lee Peacock and attacking midfielder Paul Devlin this week.
The former Aston Villa man has offered both players contracts as he seeks to fill gaps left by Jorge Leitao and Matty Fryatt.
Merson might, however, face opposition from Micky Adams for the signature of Devlin.
Coventry City are considering a move for the former Birmingham City winger after he was released by Watford last week.
The 33-year-old, who was part of the Birmingham side that won promotion to the Premiership, was enjoying a decent season with the Championship side until he was allowed to leave by manager Adrian Boothroyd.
Having spent two spells at St Andrew's, the Birmingham-born former Scotland international is keen on a return to the Midlands and is also talking to Walsall.
Devlin said: "I am now looking to go back to the Midlands, where I can finish my playing career and be a lot closer to my family.
"Although I am disappointed to be leaving a team that is doing so well, I understand why the manager is pursuing a youth policy. It makes sense and it is delivering results."
Devlin has not played for the Hornets since the end of December, and had fallen behind Ashley Young, Anthony McNamee and Chris Eagles in the Vicarage Road pecking order.
Meanwhile, Coventry have reportedly dropped their interest in Sunderland striker Matt Piper who had been training with them with a view to a loan move.