Scunthorpe boss Ian Baraclough admits he never expected to sign Kevin McDonald on a permanent basis.
The 22-year-old joined the Iron on loan from Burnley in October, having fallen out of favour at Turf Moor.
However, his two months at Glanford Park were ravaged by injury and he was unable to make much of an impression.
Baraclough is aware of how good a player the former Scotland U21 international is, though, and would have welcomed the opportunity to bring him in full-time.
Unfortunately, McDonald has decided to return to Burnley at the end of his loan spell and Scunthorpe have been forced to accept that they are unlikely to see the midfielder again.
"It was Kevin's decision that he wanted to go back and see what happens for him in January with regards to leaving Burnley," said Baraclough.
"I don't think we ever saw the best of Kevin here because of the back injury he picked up when he first arrived and then because of illness.
"Kevin was not really a player I felt I could bring here full-time because of the wages he will be on."