Rochdale chief executive Colin Garlick believes Craig Dawson's loan spell at Spotland will allow the club time to find a suitable replacement.
The highly-rated defender has joined West Brom for an undisclosed fee but will spend the remainder of the season on loan at Spotland.
Garlick says Dale will search for another defender in the coming months ahead of Dawson's move to the Hawthorns next season.
Garlick said: "A key part of this deal taking place with West Brom at this time was the agreement that Craig would come back to us immediately on loan for the full season without a recall.
"This gives us a player that we know well and who is very important in what we are looking to achieve this season and it also gives us almost 12 months to find a suitable replacement for Craig."