Hull City manager Nigel Adkins has admitted that Aston Villa have been in touch with him and there is a chance Tommy Elphick could return to his parent club in January.
The 31-year-old was farmed out to the Tigers on loan in the summer and has used the opportunity to play regularly in the Championship as a way to revitalise his career.
Villa have clearly taken note and with the Birmingham-based outfit struggling with defensive issues, talk of Elphick returning to the Midlands outfit has ramped up in recent days.
Axel Tuanzebe is likely to face a prolonged period on the sidelines due to a metatarsal complaint, leaving the promotion hopefuls relatively short of options at centre-half.
However, Villa recalling Elphick could well fill the void – with Adkins confessing that it is a possibility.
“It’s a big shame if it is (his last game v Leeds United) but we’ll have to wait and see,” the manager told Hull Live.
“From my point of view he’s done great for us and his form has probably alerted Aston Villa to the situation because he was out of there.
“Now, all of a sudden, there’s a player in form in the Championship that they might have to recall.
“We’re not saying that is going to happen but there’s a strong possibility it could happen. If it does, we’ll just have to address it.
“I’d had no contact at all from Villa up to last week but I’ve spoken with Deano (Dean Smith) and there is a possibility. Unfortunately that’s the way that could pan out.
“He’s put his body on the line again for the team, he’s grafting, he’s tackling, he’s heading.
“You can’t fault his professionalism and commitment, he’s been top drawer.
“We’ve had a conversation and he really enjoys it here. He’s enjoyed the camaraderie we’ve got as a team.
“He’s been around a lot of clubs and he knows everything you should be doing is happening here. Behind the scenes we’re doing the right things.”
Villa are reliant on critical central defender James Chester in their bid to finish in the top six this season and need a consistent partner for the Wales international if they are to vie for promotion from the Championship.
Elphick may not be the most refined of defenders but the former Bournemouth man has plenty of experience in the game at this level – something that could prove invaluable.
While Villa fans will hope the club are considering dipping into the transfer market when the January transfer opens, the loanee could well provide the answer Dean Smith and the club hierarchy crave.