Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander has admitted there is little or no chance of Gareth Evans returning to the club.
The midfielder was offered a new contract in May but hasn’t been in contact with Town over the deal.
He did not report for training last week and Alexander has all but given up hope of bringing the 27-year-old back to Highbury.
Town’s strict wage budget may have been a deal-breaker for Evans, one of the few experienced professionals to have been offered new terms in a summer cull.
Alexander has had to cut his cloth to match strict Financial Fair Play regulations and the club’s policy of sustainable spending.
The Town boss said: “I think it’s dead in the water. It went through the summer and I spoke to his agent a couple of times. It did seem to me it wasn’t going to happen.
“That’s a shame because Gaz has been superb over the last couple of years for us and has shown great quality.
“It’s one of those where we have a profile, a wage cap, a structure and every player is within their rights to go and look for another club. But it was a pleasure every day to work with Gaz because he is a fantastic professional.”
A former Manchester United youth player from Macclesfield, Evans joined Fleetwood on a free transfer from Rotherham United in January 2013. He has made 93 League appearances for Town, scoring 10 goals.
There’s no doubt the spell at Highbury has revitalised the winger’s career and there is likely to be no shortage of clubs interested in securing his services for the forthcoming campaign.
Town have alternative options, such as attacking midfielder Bobby Grant. one of the two triallists who lined up against AFC Fylde on Thursday evening.
It is not yet known if Grant will travel with the Fleetwood squad to Germany this weekend for their training camp.
Grant was released by Blackpool after two seasons but hasn’t played for them since December 2103.
He spent most of last season on loan at Shrewsbury, scoring six times in 36 appearances, having had an ill-fated spell at Fleetwood in March 2014, when injury restricted his total game-time to just 38 minutes
But Alexander made it clear a deal for the 25-year-old former Seasider was far from on his mind. He said of the two triallists at Kellamergh Park: “One of them has been training with us just to get fitness and let us have a look at him. It’s good to get them on board and have a look.
“They haven’t got a club and it’s a positive just to be in training with a club in pre-season, even if you’re not going to go there.
“I did the same thing when I left Burnley. I trained with Bolton for six weeks and it was fantastic for me. “What we’ve done is given them the opportunity to come training with us and get their fitness levels up. They have been very positive and have trained really hard.”