Watford defender Tom Aldred has left Inverness Caledonian Thistle only a month into his six-month loan period with the Scottish Premier League club.
The 20-year-old was dropped for the last two games and on Monday was part of a Caley Thistle second string contesting a North of Scotland Cup tie.
It is understood that Aldred will seek a fresh loan in England on his return to Watford.
Caley Thistle manager Terry Butcher now looks likely to bring in a fresh face.
Aldred began his career with Carlisle United and, after a loan spell with Workington, broke into the first team and won a move to Watford in 2010.
He has yet to make his first-team debut for the Championship club and was farmed out to Stockport County before heading to Caledonian Stadium.
However, the Bolton-born defender, who is now a Scotland Under-19 international, has not played for Caley Thistle since conceding a penalty in a 2-0 defeat by Rangers on 13 August.
He had started at the heart of the Inverness defence for opening defeats by Motherwell and Hibernian before making substitute appearances against Dunfermline Athletic and Rangers.
Aldred was an unused replacement for Saturday's loss to Aberdeen and was not in the squad for Wednesday's surprise 1-0 defeat by First Division side Ayr United in the Scottish Communities League Cup.
Instead, he had played in the side that two days earlier defeated North Caledonian Football League side Halkirk United 1-0 in the semi-final of the North of Scotland Cup in Wick.
Following the defeat by Ayr, their fifth loss in six games this season, Butcher hit out at his players.
"I feel badly let down and I think the club feels badly let down as well - the players know, as I've told them in no uncertain terms, that they have to pull their fingers out and get going again," he said.
"We have enough in the squad to have done a lot better and that's the most disappointing thing; players are playing well below their level at the moment and, as a team, we're playing well below our level as well.
"I don't like teams to be hungrier than mine, but Ayr certainly were and full credit to them - I wish them good luck in the next round."