Burton Albion defender Ryan Delaney will make his final loan appearance for Cork City on Friday night before returning to the Brewers with "a million thanks" from his loan side.
Delaney – who will likely start in the season-ending game against Bray Wanderers – has earned rave reviews during his time at Turners Cross, including high praise from manager John Caulfield, who has been in regular contact with Clough over the last nine months.
Delaney’s spell with Cork has seen the club win the League of Ireland Premier Division title and reach the FAI Cup final, while the Albion defender has also featured in the Europa League and appeared for Republic of Ireland Under-21s during that time.
And there is no doubt the impact the former Wexford Youths man has had away from the Pirelli Stadium.
“Ryan has to go back to Burton – he’s their player,” said Cork boss Caulfield.
“We had a great relationship with Burton manager Nigel Clough giving him to us for a full year.
“Ryan’s going back there with a league medal, he’s played for the Irish Under-21s and he’s played 40 games.
“So they want to see whether he can get into their team and play regularly.
“I imagine when Ryan leaves this time, we’ll be shaking his hand and saying 'thanks a million'.”
The 21-year-old proved to be a shrewd piece of business for Cork City after joining on a season-long loan in the January transfer window, as he formed a solid partnership with veteran centre-half Alan Bennett.
He helped them to their third League of Ireland title when they wrapped it up with a 0-0 draw against Derry City last week.
However, as the League of Ireland season runs from February through to October, Delaney will now not be available for selection for Burton until January.