Barnsley have confirmed the return of on-loan midfielder Matty James to Leicester City, with a future spell at Oakwell now unlikely.

The Championship club signed the 29-year-old on a loan deal until January, the second such spell James has had at Oakwell.

The Reds had made clear their desire to keep hold of the player for longer, but that no longer appears possible.

Barnsley have announced on their official club website that James has returned to his parent club Leicester, with the club’s chief executive Dane Murphy suggesting that he would not be coming back.

Murphy told the website: “I cannot overstate the gratitude I have for all that Matty has done for the club in the first half of the season.

“His ability, character, and leadership have impacted the squad in a way that cannot be quantified.

“He will be missed at every level and I am happy that he has been able to prove he is still an elite player.”

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It is a big blow for Barnsley, for whom the midfielder has played a key role this season in 15 matches.

James, who also played for the club on loan in 2017, has struck up a strong partnership in the centre of the pitch alongside captain Alex Mowatt.

He has played a key role in Barnsley’s impressive revival since the arrival of head coach Valerien Ismael.

They have won 10 of the 15 matches in which James has played, with his arrival coinciding with that of the French boss to engineer a rise into the top half of the Championship table.

Barnsley have Herbie Kane who can take over in midfield, as well as the hugely promising Callum Styles who has been playing at left wing-back for most of the season.

But James’ future does not appear to be in South Yorkshire, though what comes next for him is uncertain.

He has played 117 times for Leicester City but with the Foxes third in the Premier League, his chance of making a return to their first team would appear unlikely.