Stuart McCall will reluctantly call off City’s chase for Dean Furman.

McCall has been desperate to bring back the all-action midfielder, who was a storming success during his season-long loan from Rangers.

Furman played 33 times, scoring four goals, and quickly became a firm favourite with the fans for his non-stop performances in the middle of the pitch.

But McCall expects the young South African to opt for a League One club instead, with Oldham strongly tipped as his destination.

McCall said: “We’ve been very good for Deano and he’s been terrific for us. I know he loved his time here and would like to come back but, in fairness, he wants to play at the highest level possible.

“As much as we’ve done everything we can to get him back, I think he’ll be joining a League One club if they can come up with the (compensation) money that Rangers are looking for.

“We’ve waited a little while to try to get him and I’m disappointed but I can see that he wants to play at a higher level if the chance is there.”

Having missed out on top targets Furman and Nicky Law, McCall is still after one more central midfielder this summer.

He has brought in three recruits so far but the wage budget is now full up with the high earners still on the books.

And unless circumstances suddenly change, McCall expects to see Graeme Lee, Michael Boulding and Paul McLaren back for the start of pre-season on July 1.

He said: “I’ve not heard anything otherwise. There are a lot of players out there in the market these days and everyone knows that, apart from a few clubs, finances are being cut.

“Whether anyone can match their wages, and whether the lads want to go to these clubs, we’ll have to wait and see.

“At the moment I expect to see the lads back for pre-season and we’ll take it from there. It’s a difficult position.”