Fulham are adamant Chris Martin will not return to Derby until the end of the season at the earliest.
GetWestLondon has learned Whites will reluctantly allow the loanee Scotland striker to sit on the sidelines if worst comes to worst, rather than hand the Rams an advantage in the Championship play-off race.
Martin says he is injured, even though the Whites medical team are perplexed by this.
As a result, they can't withhold his near £20k-a-week wages, but will continue to deny Derby extra ammunition that could see one of the two clubs make the Promised Land of the Premier League in May.
Martin refused to play in the abandoned Reading game and yesterday's 2-1 home defeat to Brighton.
Fulham head coach Slavisa Jokanovic has poured scorn on the player's stance likening the Martin furore to a 'train station' where players can come in and go as they please.
Derby boss Steve McClaren has fuelled the fire by hoping he can get Martin back - even though the loan deal is watertight.