Gillingham manager Mark Stimson admits the club are unlikely to be able to afford a deal to sign Rene Howe permanently.
The striker has scored twice in 17 appearances since joining the Gills on loan from Peterborough United in the January transfer window.
Howe's future back at London Road is unclear after Gary Johnson took over as manager, but Stimson doubts Gillingham would be in a position to agree a deal even if he is available.
"The fee is still quite large for us and it's something that we probably can't quite get near unfortunately," said Stimson.
"Also he's on a very good contract and we're only paying half his wages.
"In the end we're probably going to have to give up and look elsewhere because he's just out of our bracket."