ON-LOAN right-back Luke O’Neill will return to parent club Burnley in the new year with York City being priced out of a possible permanent deal.

The 22-year-old defender, who was The Press Player of the Month in November, is due back at Turf Moor following the first weekend of January and City boss Nigel Worthington is not expecting to be able to call on his services beyond that point.

O’Neill, because of his age, cannot extend his loan stay at Bootham Crescent past the current three-month agreement and, even if Championship high-fliers Burnley were prepared to offload him, City are unlikely to meet his wage demands or a possible transfer fee.

On the former Mansfield full-back’s situation, Worthington said: “He can only be on loan with us for 93 days because he is over 21 so there is no choice on him and he will be going back.

“It might have been an option to bring him in permanently but that would involve quite a bit of money and we are not in that position.”

Worthington is expected to finalise a permanent deal for Keith Lowe once the transfer window reopens in January and is also planning on retaining the services of fellow loan trio Ben Davies, Elliott Whitehouse and Ryan Brobbel, saying: “We are hoping to sort something out with Cheltenham and Keith Lowe, and we are waiting for confirmation one way or the other on the loan situations of Ben Davies, Elliott Whitehouse and Ryan Brobbel, so that we know where we are in January.”

First-year professional Mike Atkinson, meanwhile, has already left Bootham Crescent, having been released by Worthington.

The teenage right-back could not force his way into the first-team reckoning at City and was loaned out to Northallerton Town earlier this term.

“He has left the club to enable him to get on with his life, whether it be as a part-time footballer or other work,” Worthington revealed.

“It was difficult for him to force his way into the equation so, rather than him getting frustrated, we have come to a mutual agreement that will allow him to do whatever he wants to do next.”