MICKY Adams, the Sheffield United manager, has challenged Joe Mattock and Shane Lowry to earn permanent moves to Bramall Lane.
The youngsters, who made their debuts for the South Yorkshire club at Coventry City on Saturday, are scheduled to spend the rest of the season with Adams' squad after arriving on loan from West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa.
Although neither has explicitly stated they are looking to part company with their respective employers, Adams admitted that he could be tempted to recruit them on a permanent basis if they continue to impress over the next four months.
Lowry, a former Republic of Ireland youth international, appeared to offer the 49-year-old some encouragement by stating he needs to "develop a career" following United's return from the Midlands.
"All loans are with a view to something," Adams acknowledged. "So we will continue to assess them as they go along."
Elian Parrino, aged 22, was the oldest member of United's new-look back four at the Ricoh Arena. But Adams dismissed suggestions that he had taken a bold gamble by selecting Mattock, 20, and Lowry, 21, ahead of more experienced campaigners such as Rob Kozluk.
"It wasn't a big deal for me," he said. "Why would it be?
"One of them (Mattock) played 30 or so games for a promotion-winning team last term. The other (Lowry) has spent time at Leeds so they've already shown they can handle these situations.
"If I didn't think they could then they wouldn't be here. It's as simple as that."
Lowry, who has yet to make a senior start for Villa, forged a solid partnership with fellow centre-half Kyle Bartley against Aidy Boothroyd's side as United kept their first clean sheet since last month's win over Swansea City.
He said: "I'm 20 now and I need to start developing my career whether that be at Villa or away. I'm delighted to be here because this is a massive club that doesn't deserve to be where it is in the table."
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