Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce is resigned to losing on-loan striker Franco Di Santo in January, but hopes the Argentinian can have a significant impact until then.
The 20-year-old was expected to be recalled at the end of his six-month spell at Ewood Park because of the number of Chelsea players involved in the African Nations Cup, but the London club's transfer ban makes his return to Stamford Bridge a near certainty.
"We knew we would probably lose him in January but that is the process," the Rovers boss told the Lancashire Telegraph. "It will be important for both of us if Franco can kick on from here, then perhaps Chelsea will benefit from there on."
On Saturday Di Santo, who has yet to score in three Barclays Premier League matches, made his first appearance for a month after a hamstring injury and played a significant part in the 2-1 win over Aston Villa.
Allardyce hopes the player will now get a run of matches to allow him to fulfil his potential.
"There is no doubt if we continue with him and develop him and he continues to play the way he did on Saturday it would be great for us up to January," the manager added.
Jason Roberts, who has scored once in five Premier League matches, was dropped from Saturday's squad but Allardyce said the 31-year-old former Wigan striker could benefit from Di Santo's spell at the club.
"We have got two experienced strikers in Jason and Benni McCarthy but we haven't got young legs and this lad has young fresh legs," he said.
"I took Jason out of the firing line. He will be very disappointed but he will be back, there is no doubt about that.
"It was a tough selection. We have a lot of players to choose from and that is the good part about strength in depth."
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