Royals boss Steve Coppell today left the door just that little bit ajar for hat-trick hero Leroy Lita to extend his tour of duty in Norfolk for another month.
The 23-year-old Royals hitman is due to finish his initial, month-long loan spell at Carrow Road on November 1 – straight after the trip to Burnley.
But after putting league leaders Wolves to the sword in such stunning fashion on Tuesday night, so the pressure will be mounting for the Canaries to pull every trick they can out of the bag to keep Lita in Norfolk for another month.
Given the club's current financial predicament as the club's principal shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones continue to scour the crisis-hit City of London – and beyond – for fresh potential investors, any hope of Lita extending his stay may yet have to rest on the continuing generosity of local businessman Carl Moore who helped fund his initial switch from the Thames Valley.
The other large cloud on the horizon could come in the shape of Iain Dowie's reported interest in Lita's whereabouts come November 2. The QPR chief has two tricks up his sleeve that thae Canaries can only dream of – pots of Formula One cash and a location that would suit the striker's likely needs to a 'T'.
Canary boss Glenn Roeder will need to weave some very special man-management magic over the next ten days to fight off the twin attractions of any potential 'emergency loan' move back to Loftus Road ahead of the January transfer window opening where a permanent deal could be struck.
To muddy the late autumn waters yet further West Bromwich Albion have also been linked to the Canary loan hero. And they have a Premiership stage to offer Norfolk's new darling.
At least today's comments by Coppell offer the first, real hope that he is no particular hurry to have his striker back – not whilst he's in the goals and smashing large holes in the confidence of Reading's own promotion rivals.
Likewise, the Royals chief is not exactly short of in-form strikers himself.
Kevin Doyle's 76th minute winner against Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night took his tally to nine for the season – including two hat-tricks. Meanwhile his new, fellow Irish pal Noel Hunt has settled in swiftly to his new Championship surroundings – he's got six.
“Leroy just wants to play,” Coppell told the official Reading website this morning as he dropped his 'Maybe…' line into conversation.
“In terms of whether he stays there, you'll cross that bridge when you come to it,” he said, with that bridge likely to arrive sooner rather than later as Roeder and Co begin to ponder their likely life minus Lita's cutting edge.
“I'd imagine on the back of that hat-trick they'll want to extend it,” added Coppell. “So we'll speak to Leroy and see.”
One glance at Tuesday night's remarkable scoreline was all Coppell needed to know – that his man was back in the goals again.
“As soon as I heard the score, I said straight away: 'I bet he got a hat-trick…' and so it proved,” sad Coppell, delighted to have one of his own running amok amid those early promotion favourites.
“He wants to score goals – they are his lifeblood and he's done that now,” said the Reading chief simply, well aware of the damage he has just inflicted on that traditionally brittle Molineux dressing room.
“That's helped us because of the opposition, but first and foremost that's helped him and, indirectly, that could be to our advantage.”
Speaking straight after Tuesday night's extraordinary game, Roeder was equall delighted to have finally discovered such a cutting edge and that having now topped up his match-fitness tank the real Leroy Lita is about to go to work – ideally with Doncaster Rovers next on his agenda.
“Leroy didn't come to us match fit,” Roeder explained to the club's official site.
“He played one game for Reading a week or so before he came to us,” he added.
“And I don't care how much training you do, if you don't play matches you're not match fit. Tonight we've seen the real Leroy Lita and the reason why he was brought here – to score goals.
“I hope that the time he's with us here, he continues to score goals and pick up points.”
How much longer he s actually here for is now, of course, the $64 million question with Coppell apparently prepared to play ball – depending on Lita's own thoughts on the matter.
From Roeder's point of view, a pint or two with Mr Moore might need to be his next port of call.