Ross County loanee Jake Eastwood will return to parent club Sheffield United in the coming days.
English goalkeeper Eastwood has been unable to dislodge first choice Ross Laidlaw, who earlier this week signed a new three-and-a-half year deal to remain in the Highlands.
Since arriving in the summer Eastwood has played just twice, with both appearances coming in the Premier Sports Cup.
He enjoyed a memorable debut in a group stage tie against Alloa Athletic in July, when he saved a penalty from Connor Sammon in the Staggies’ 2-0 win.
County boss Malky Mackay has revealed the 26-year-old is in the process of cutting short his loan, with Ross Munro to step up to be Laidlaw’s deputy.
Mackay said: “Jake is going to go back to Sheffield United.
“He has been a great pro here for the first half of the season, but Ross’ form has meant that his chances and opportunities have been more limited than they might have been.
“He’s a good lad, and at his age he needs to play, so I had a conversation with him and I think he’s going to look to see what his situation is in the coming week.
“He might go right back out on loan to somewhere in England, but here Ross Munro will step up.
“There are no numbers to him, but Ross will be our sub goalie. He has done really well, he’s a really good pro and he will come in as number two at the moment.”
Returning Samuel could move out on loan in search of game time
Mackay has also revealed he will seek a loan move for striker Alex Samuel, who is back in training having been sidelined since last February with a cruciate ligament injury.
Welshman Samuel has made only six outings since making the switch from Wycombe Wanderers in 2021, with Mackay keen for him to play regular action.
Mackay added: “I’ve said before that Alex Samuel is going to need some football, so we’ll be looking to see if there’s a loan option for him until the end of the season.”
Decision on Wright and Mackinnon to come later in month
Mackay an assessment on the short-term future of youngsters Matthew Wright and Adam Mackinnon will not be made until the end of the January transfer window.
The Staggies boss has not ruled out the pair going back out on loan.
Should they feature for County during the remainder of the month, they would only be able to return to League One side Montrose, where they spent the first half of the season.
Mackay will use the coming weeks to assess the next move for the Lewis-born pair, who are under contract at Dingwall until 2024.
He added: “That will be a late decision. They are two great kids, and they are both boys that are going to have a big future for Ross County.
“It’s just a decision as to what happens next – whether they both stay in for the second half of the season like they did last year to help the group, or whether the bigger picture of their longer-term development calls for them to go and get six months out again.
“We’ll see where that goes, but that will probably be determined by what we can get in as well.
“They have both gone out and played men’s football, while they’ve been training with us every week anyway, and they have both impressed.
“If we played them in the meantime, they would only be able to go out to Montrose.
“That wouldn’t be a hardship, because they were terrific there and Stewart Petrie did really well with them.
“It would be really easy for them to go back to Montrose, but for me it’s more of a question of whether we keep them here. There are positives to both.
“I wouldn’t have them involved to then limit the option of what we do. It’s really about deciding in two or three weeks’ time what their next six months look like.”