Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton says Ashley Nadesan is heading back to Highbury to fight for a first team spot once his loan spell at Carlisle United finishes.
The 24-year-old moved to Brunton Park in the summer after the arrival of Chris Long.
However, Long is not expected to feature again for Fleetwood after falling out of favour, and with only youngster Ged Garner an alternative for the out and out striker’s role, Barton says Nadesan has a chance to push Ched Evans and Paddy Madden.
Barton sees that area as a place to strengthen and will give Nadesan the chance to fight for a shirt.
The forward is out of contract in the summer and has netted nine times for Carlisle so far this season as they sit seventh in League Two.
He has one more game for Carlisle against Mansfield Town before returning to Highbury on January 6.
Barton said: “We need players in that striker spot.
“The whole purpose of sending Ash out was to get him some games because we did not feel there would be with Chris Long coming in.
“But now you can see there is an opportunity for him to push for a first team place.
“He has had a decent run at Carlisle. He comes back in here with a chance of fighting for a first team jersey.”
Midfielder Jack Sowerby, who is also on loan at Carlisle, will only return to Fleetwood at the end of January.
Left-back Joe Maguire and attacker Michael Donohue’s loan spells at League Two Crawley Town and National League North outfit FC United are also set to expire this month.
Fleetwood, meanwhile, are working on extending the existing loan deals for Norwich City left-back James Husband and Leeds United right-back Lewie Coyle.
Coyle’s loan spell is scheduled to end on January 6 with Husband’s also set to expire later this month.
But Barton is determined to retain the pair, who have been regular starters with both expected to be in contention for the FA Cup tie against AFC Wimbledon at the weekend.
He said: “We are keen on keeping both of the lads here.
“They have been good players for us.
“We will have conversations with their clubs and see what they plan on doing with them but, again, once those loans start to reach that date I’m imagining there will be conversations.
“Hopefully we will keep them here because they have been first class.”