"There are no two ways about it, Jeff has been a vital player for us," Dearden told the Evening Post
"We have not lost a League match while he has been in the side."
Whitley has taken over the captaincy throughout his loan spell, with Darren Caskey unlikely to take the armband back just yet because of his disaplinary problems.
Dearden must convince the clubs administrators that he is worth keeping on. As yet Notts have not had to pay for his wages, but Manchester City will be expected some cash once the first loan deal is up. However, the clubs directors are prepared to pay Whitley's wages if the club cannot find the money.
The question is, can they afford to do it for a second month?