YORK City boss Billy McEwan wants top scorer Clayton Donaldson to carry on playing for the club before he joins Hibernian in the summer but is demanding 100 per cent commitment.
The Minstermen were offered a fee of £50,000 by the Scottish Premier League club and the chance to take 21-year-old striker Sam Morrow on loan until the end of the season to secure Donaldson's services before the transfer window closes at midnight tonight.
But despite McEwan expressing disappointment at how the transfer was carried out without him being given the opportunity to negotiate a deal beneficial for both the player and the club, the City manager is hoping 20-goal Donaldson will now produce his best form for the Minstermen once he has served the third and final game of his current suspension.
McEwan said: "I've always said we would never stand in his way and we know we will lose our better players but I'm disappointed with the way it's happened. I think he's a young boy, who's a little naïve and I think he's been exploited and misguided but he's still a York City player between now and the end of the season and I've told him he's got to get his head together because I will rip into him if he lets his team-mates down.
"He will battle and compete because, if he doesn't do that, he won't be selected to play."
McEwan - a former Hibs player himself - has also warned Donaldson that the transition from Conference football to the Scottish Premier League will not be an easy one, saying: "It's a big, big step from the Conference to the top five in the SPL.
"He may sit on the bench and only come on for 20 minutes but it's the boy's decision. I just think he's been swayed on the matter."
The City boss added that taking Northern Ireland Under-21 international Morrow before tomorrow's transfer window deadline was never really an option.
McEwan is rigorous in his scouting before signing any player and has not seen Morrow in recent action. He has also failed to make a senior start this season after suffering cruciate knee ligament damage.
The former Ipswich Town trainee, who had a loan spell with Boston United before joining Hibs in 2004, has scored three goals in 40 appearances for the Easter Road club and ended last season at Livingston where he managed to net twice in 11 outings.
McEwan said: "They threw in a player coming back from injury but did not even speak to me - only (City managing director) Jason McGill."
Donaldson has been called up by Barnet manager Paul Fairclough for the England National Game XI squad to face Northern Ireland in Glenavon on Tuesday, February 13.
Hibernian last night sold midfielder Kevin Thomson to Rangers for £2m.