Leeds United are continuing to weigh up a loan bid for Michael Johnson after watching the midfielder in last night's reserve game between Manchester City and Bolton Wanderers.
Representatives from Elland Road are understood to have been among the crowd in Lancashire where Johnson stepped up his comeback from long-term injury.
The talented 22-year-old emerged as a possible target for Leeds manager Simon Grayson during the January transfer window, and United are once again assessing his situation with the Football League's emergency loan window now open.
Johnson admitted last month that he was keen to leave Eastlands on a temporary basis with Manchester City unlikely to field him regularly in the closing stages of the season, and he has previously stated his interest in taking up a deal with Leeds.
City cast doubt on his availability by naming him in the 25-man squad submitted to the Premier League at the end of the transfer window
an indication that manager Roberto Mancini intended to make use of a player whose career has been badly affected by a knee injury – but the Manchester club might still be open to a short-term deal with United.
Grayson's attempts to sign a new midfielder in January were hampered by the reluctance of top-flight sides to release fringe players on loan until the end of the season.
The Football League's emergency market allows for deals up to a maximum of 93 days, and parent clubs have the benefit of a 24-hour recall clause at the end of the first month.
Grayson confirmed that a number of the targets pursued by him last month were likely to be made available in the emergency window.
Speaking last week, the United boss said: "I'd have thought that some of the players I was looking at will be available.
"I've spoken to four or five managers about that, all of whom are in the Premier League. The players I'm looking at will definitely make us better as a team and I'd like to think they'll be available as and when I decide to get the business done."
Johnson completed 62 minutes for City's reserves in a Manchester Senior Cup clash with Bury last week, and his outing last night was another step towards full match fitness.
He made his own intentions clear during the transfer window when he said: "Going out somewhere for the rest of the season and getting match fit might be a better option."