Middlesbrough are unlikely to stand in Sheffield United's way if they try to sign Marvin Johnson on a permanent basis.
The winger, who moved to Bramall Lane on loan earlier this year, is scheduled to spend the rest of the season with Chris Wilder's side before a decision is taken on his long-term future.
But it is understood Tony Pulis, Chris Wilder's counterpart at the Riverside Stadium, will make it as easy as possible for United to recruit Johnson should they decide to open talks with the 28-year-old towards the end of the campaign.
Middlesbrough, who are also hopeful of securing a top six finish, handed the former Motherwell winger a three year contract when they paid Oxford a reported £2.5m to acquire his services 16 months ago.
But Pulis' appointment in December last year stunted Johnson's progress in the North-East, with the Welshman adopting a different tactical approach to his predecessor Garry Monk.
Johnson made his seventh appearance for United during last weekend's game against Leeds, replacing Enda Stevens soon after Pablo Hernandez scored what proved to be the winning goal for Marcelo Bielsa's side.
Despite primarily being deployed in an attacking role since turning professional, Wilder has selected him as a wing-back on numerous occasions.