Kilmarnock are not giving up hope that Greg Stewart will be back at Rugby Park this season despite Birmingham's shock decision to recall the frontman.
The former Dundee and Aberdeen player has been a success since joining up with Steve Clarke's side on a season-long loan.
His contribution of eight goals and eight assists has been vital to Killie's surge up the Ladbrokes Premiership table, with the Ayrshire outfit just one point behind joint leaders Celtic and Rangers.
But Clarke has been hit with a fresh blow, just a week after Jordan Jones announced he is moving to Ibrox in the summer, with news that Blues boss Garry Monk wants Stewart back at St Andrews.
He is due to report back to his parent club on Monday but Killie are ready to fight to keep hold of the 28-year-old.
Birmingham are operating under a transfer embargo after breaching EFL financial fair play rules and are rumoured to be considering selling Stewart, whose deal expires in the summer.
A source close to the club told Press Association Sport: "Discussions are ongoing but we've certainly not given up hope that Greg might end up back at Rugby Park.
"He is Birmingham's player so ultimately the decision rests with them.
"But if an agreement can be struck that would see him see out the season with us then we'd be delighted."
Birmingham's decision has taken Clarke by surprise.
He was asked about the possibility of the Sky Bet Championship outfit recalling Stewart only three weeks ago and said then: "Greg's happy and we're happy. I don't think Birmingham want him back as far as I know. They've certainly given us no indication they want him back down south.
"His contract is up in the summer, so he's in a great position. He's done really well for himself, he's done well for Kilmarnock and we're delighted with him. We're looking forward to having him for the rest of the season."