Burton Albion manager Nigel Clough has told the Burton Mail that he does not expect to renew a loan deal for Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Joe Mason this month.
The 26-year-old has been on loan with the Championship minnows for the first half of the 2017-18 season, but has struggled to make an impact with numerous injuries and illness preventing any kind of consistent playing time.
In total, he made six Championship appearances for Burton, scoring once against Sheffield Wednesday but has now returned to his parent club after his loan finished at the start of January.
Clough was asked about the chances of re-signing the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international, but he played luring Mason back to the Pirelli Stadium down as he expects Mason to search for pastures new elsewhere.
"No, I don't think so," said Clough when asked if there was a chance of signing Mason for a second time. "It was unbelievably unlucky the way the loan spell has been, and I think he'll say, 'I just need a fresh start somewhere'.
"To have the illness and injury that he's had, and the different sorts of things was unlucky. He's had a bad back and then he's had this problem with his appendix - he's been incredibly unlucky. I know Wolves are very sympathetic."
Mason is unlikely to be given many first-team chances at Molineux, with the likes of Leo Bonatini way above the Irishman in the pecking order. Wolves are also reportedly closing in on the signing of Valencia striker Rafa Mir.
It remains to be seen what decision Mason makes, with less than 18 months currently remaining on his contract with the Championship table-toppers.