Tony Pulis admitted that players could leave Middlesbrough this month - but he will face a conundrum should offers come in.
The Boro boss is keen to strengthen his squad in the January transfer window but is aware that funds are limited.
As he has done at previous clubs, Pulis is keen to balance the books and ensure he does not over-spend in a bid to return to the Premier League.
That means that players could leave the Riverside Stadium in order to facilitate incomings, and there is already thought to be plenty of interest in some of Boro's fringe players.
Ashley Fletcher is being pursued by Hull City, while Ipswich were linked with moves for Grant Leadbitter and Rudy Gestede - although Paul Lambert admitted the finances involved meant those deals were unlikely.
But such players could move on during the winter trading period - but Pulis admits he faces a dilemma when sanctioning exits.
"The most important thing is can we bring better players in if they leave?," he said.
“We want to make the squad better and bring in the players we need.”
Pulis acted swiftly to bring in Rajiv van La Parra on a half-season loan deal from Huddersfield Town, and will continue to search for new faces as he looks to mount a push towards the top two of the Championship.
But he is keen to ensure he acts in a sustainable manner and does not make bad purchases.
“The chairman has always backed his manager at this club but the important thing is that we try to spend the money we have in a good way, make good investments,” added Pulis.
“We have had more loans than signings since I came in, we have worked on the loan market.
“Loans can still be gambles but not really big gambles because they don’t affect the football club financially long term.
“It’s astonishing what Steve Gibson has put in over the years, it really is and I have a responsibility when I leave to ensure the club is in good shape.
“I did that with Peter Coates at Stoke, who knows I did my best on and off the pitch off the pitch. I want it to be the same here.
“Fans have every right to get frustrated and annoyed, I have to accept that, but there’s only one dog owner.”