Cardiff City manager Russell Slade has admitted frustration at having to sell Joe Mason to rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers for "financial reasons."
Slade explained the deal will improve the chances of Cardiff's transfer embargo being lifted in the summer.
But he denied the sale signals the end of their Championship play-off hopes, saying: "Nobody has given up at the football club."
Slade hopes to add two loan signings before Monday's transfer deadline.
Mason's departure in a £3.5m deal followed Kenwyne Jones' exit at the start of the window and the loss of loan player Tony Watt.
Between them the three have scored 13 of the team's 35 league goals this term.
|More from BBC Wales Sport|
|Swansea in court over Vorm sale|
|Guidolin eyes 'one or two' recruits|
|Wales need more intelligence - Henry|
But Slade explained the sale of Mason was governed by the desire to lift the transfer embargo - imposed because of breaches of financial fair play rules.
"It was not for football reasons, it was for financial reasons," he said.
"What it means is when we submit our accounts on the fair play, then it will give us a much better chance of coming out of the embargo in the summer. It goes a long way to addressing it.
"You look at the make-up of your team, you're looking where your goals are coming from, you don't want to be losing goals from your team. It is only going to ever be detrimental.
''I think it got to a level whereby, in all fairness, with the club in the situation it is in, it was difficult to turn down.''
No 'fire sale'
Though Slade asserted the club did not need a "fire sale" he admitted the task of reaching the play-offs had been made tougher, with the Bluebirds currently ninth in the Championship and five points behind the top six.
"I am probably one of a lot of people that are disappointed that we have not been able to address this window like we would have liked, accepting that in the last two windows we have had a lot of tightening up to do, to give the club some stability," Slade said.
"So it is frustrating from that point of view - for everybody not just me. The club is the most important thing in anything, so we need to ensue the future of the club and there are rules out there we have to abide by and come in line with.
"It's frustrating with the position we are in and just a few points short. Maybe a little boost at this time might have been what we required.''
But Slade insisted a play-off place is still the aim, saying: "Nobody has given up at the football club.
"I would fight everybody's corner on that. It's the circumstances that has put us in the dilemma we are in, financial circumstances."
Cardiff right-back Lee Peltier is suspended for Saturday's Championship clash against his former club Huddersfield after being sent off in the 2-2 draw with Rotherham.