Wilfried Bony will not be gifted opportunities at Stoke City and must prove he is worthy of a place in the starting line-up, says chairman Peter Coates.
Much was expected of Ivory Coast striker Bony when he arrived on loan from Manchester City in August, but he has thus far scored just two goals in 10 Premier League appearances and has not played for the Potters since December 27.
Bony openly aired his displeasure at a lack of playing time, which has been further restricted by the arrival of Saido Berahino in January, admitting he sometimes wondered why he agreed to join Stoke and stating his relationship with manager Mark Hughes is "not good".
Coates says he understands Bony's frustration, but told the former Swansea City striker to knuckle down and earn a place in the team.
"We are also disappointed that he hasn't been playing more," he said in quotes reported by the Stoke Sentinel.
"But he has had opportunities and the manager has already gone on record to speak about this.
"All players are disappointed when they don't get into the team, but of course you have to be there on merit, as with anything in life.
"This is really Mark's domain, though, and a decision for him."
While Bony's future remains uncertain, it looks likely that fellow loan signing Bruno Martins Indi will stay at Stoke for the foreseeable future.
The Netherlands defender has been a mainstay of the team since making his debut in September and is keen to make his temporary switch from Porto permanent.
"We are talking to each other, the club and me. I have the intention to stay. We want to see what is going to happen," Martins Indi told Sky Sports News.
"I was following Stoke City before I was here and I knew the way the manager wants to play.
"He gave me a lot of confidence to come here and he trusted me, I happy that I could give him that back."