Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels has all but given up hope of extending son Dean's loan spell at Rugby Park.
The Killie boss had hoped to retain the services of the midfielder - who has impressed with six goals for the Ayrshire club - until the end of the season. However he is now prepared for the player to return to Doncasters when his loan deal ends on January 16, having held talks with agent Willie McKay, who has a key role in transfers at Rovers.
On the possibility of extending the deal, boss Shiels said: "I don't think it's going to happen, I really don't. There is a lot of negative stuff coming out and it looks as though Doncaster are reluctant to let him stay. I was speaking to Willie McKay and they say they want him back."
He added: "Dean's keen to stay. It's not dead in the water just yet but it's heading that way.
"I've been looking at players who would be similar to Dean but I need to make a commitment one way or another. We are running out of time now."
The player's contract with Doncaster is set to expire at the end of the season but Kilmarnock boss Shiels admits the Ayrshire club would be unable to compete for his signature in the summer.
Manager Shiels said: "It depends on what opportunities he has. He will have loads of opportunities, there are a lot of clubs looking at him at the moment.
"We are not going to have him next season."
Patrick Ada, Billy Berntsson and Ben Hutchinson have all departed Rugby Park and Shiels will turn his focus to strengthening his squad this month.
He said: "I've got a few people that I'm interested in. We probably need a defender and a creative striker and they are hard to come by. That's basically where we are at."