Everton boss David Moyes is all but resigned to defeat in his attempts to bring in new faces this month.
The Scot has not completely given up hope of bolstering his small squad but concedes time is fast running out as Monday's transfer deadline approaches.
Moyes was limited to free transfers last summer and has been forced to look at the loan market only during the current window due to a lack of funds.
The situation does not appear to have altered significantly following the £3million sale of Steven Pienaar to Tottenham and receipt of a loan fee from Leicester for Ayegbeni Yakubu.
With striker James Vaughan having also moved to Crystal Palace on loan, Moyes wants to increase numbers but when asked today if he was optimistic about doing so he replied, "Probably not".
Speaking at his weekly press conference, he added: "I have got a wee bit of hope but not a big one.
"We are in a loan market, looking for loan players, and where are you going to get them at this moment in time?
"It needs to be people who I think could make the difference, or people whose experience might help us.
"Overall we are looking to try to do that but to get them is difficult."
Everton have been linked with a number of names but Moyes has consistently stressed the Toffees' ability to bring in players is limited.
Chelsea have no such worries as they prepare to travel to Goodison Park for tomorrow's FA Cup fourth-round tie after having a bid believed to be around £35million for Liverpool's Fernando Torres rejected.
The Barclays Premier League champions and cup holders appear keen to strengthen having fallen behind the pace in the title race.
Moyes is well aware, however, of the threat they still pose having watched them dismantle Bolton 4-0 on Monday.
Moyes said: "When they got an opportunity they took it and defensively they were terrific.
"I have seen them playing more fluent football in times gone past but they were very efficient.
"When you have people who can win games out of nothing like (Didier) Drogba, (Nicolas) Anelka or (Florent) Malouda and defenders who can deal with physicality and keep it calm like John Terry, (Branislav) Ivanovic and the goalkeeper [Petr Cech] - you have the makings of a really good side."
Everton have struggled to rediscover the form which saw them recover from a poor start to finish eighth last season on the back of a run of two defeats in 24 games.
They remain just five points above the relegation zone but have shown an ability to raise their performance for big games this season.
That will offer encouragement going into the tie - a repeat of the 2009 final won by Chelsea - as will Everton's recent record against the Stamford Bridge outfit.
The sides drew 1-1 in the league last month and the Toffees memorably beat the Londoners at Goodison 11 months ago.
Moyes said: "You wouldn't say playing Chelsea in the cup is a good draw. When did they last lose in the FA Cup? 2008?
"You always hope for a favourable draw but I have been knocked out by some of the smaller teams before, so whoever I drew I probably wouldn't be that happy.
"But the year we got to the final we had to overcome Liverpool, Middlesbrough and then Manchester United in the semi-finals.
"If you are going to get there eventually you have to play the big sides.
"We have drawn against Chelsea in lots of the cup competitions and it has been tough because Chelsea have a great cup record.
"We know what we are up against but we are at home and we will try to use that to our advantage."
The run to the 2009 final was the closest Moyes has come to winning silverware in almost nine years in charge.
That is something he is anxious to better and, after thrashing Scunthorpe with a strong side in the third round, clearly sees the FA Cup as a great opportunity.
He added: "It is very difficult to win the Premier League with what is required.
"We've always tried to win knockout games - the cups have become very important.
"Every game we go into we genuinely try to get through and we will be doing the same going into this one."Reuse content