John Hughes is set to make a decision on Dunfermline trialist Aaron Taylor-Sinclair by the end of this week.
The former Motherwell and Partick Thistle defender is currently training with the Pars as he seeks to earn a deal.
Taylor-Sinclair, 30, has been without a club since leaving Livingston last summer, albeit he did spend a period on trial with Southend during the close season.
He has lined up in behind closed doors clashes against Livi and Falkirk recently, with Hughes impressed by his versatility, experience and improving fitness levels.
However, the Pars boss stopped short of guaranteeing that there will be a contract offer for the Antigua and Barbuda internationalist.
“Aaron still has to get his fitness levels up,” said Hughes. “He has played a couple of practice matches for us.
“He has the experience we might need. We’ll look at him over the next week or so and make that decision.
“It’s all spinning plates. Aaron can play in a number of positions, left centre-half, and played one up [midfield] against Livingston.
“You can see he is starting to settle and find his legs and fitness. It’s one we’ll look at.
“A lot of it is about timing.
“But everyone can see that we need a hand because we need to be better than we were against Arbroath.”
Hughes made his first signing as Dunfermline boss on Monday afternoon, snapping up former Motherwell and Livi winger Stevie Lawless.
And, discussing the month ahead, he continued: “It’s a precarious, choppy window.
“Without naming names, you already think you are down the road with one or two and they end up going somewhere else.
“You then say: if I’m not getting my number one, is my number two or three better than what I’ve got?
“But we are working very hard.”
Hughes also confirmed that Dunfermline have instigated discussions regarding the future of their three loan players.
Mark Connolly has been a stand-out performer since joining the club from Dundee United in September.
Fellow Tannadice centre-back Ross Graham was a regular under previous Pars manager Peter Grant — but has made just one substitute appearance since September 11 following several high-profile errors.
Rangers kid Kai Kennedy is an undoubted talent but has seen his spell interrupted by illness and injury.
Hughes continued: “Do they want to stay here? Do they want to go back?
“Those discussions have started and hopefully we can keep one or two of them as well.”