Paris Simmons' dreams of landing a move to Lincoln City have been shattered by injury.
The Derby winger is out of contract in the summer, and has returned to Pride Park after failing to shake off an ankle problem sustained during the reserves' 3-0 defeat against Sheffield United three weeks ago.
The Imps chief made the decision to send him home in the midst of a 1-1 reserves draw with Sheff Weds, and admitted he had concerns about his overall fitness.
"I'm disappointed that Paris has gone back, but I had to pull him after the reserve game because he has been underachieving. He's only playing to 60 per cent of his capability so it's important now he works on his fitness.
"In the summer, when there are lots of players out of work, nobody is going to sign a half-fit Paris Simmons. There will be more than 1,000 footballers out of work in the summer, so managers are always going to pick the ones who are fully fit. If you're not, then you've no chance. That may sound harsh, but I've been honest with him and told him the situation. He's let himself down."