Kane Richards has returned to Chester FC from Gainsborough Trinity while manager Steve Burr revealed a potential deadline day signing fell through.
The Blues lined up a loan switch for an experienced Football League forward but despite looking like it could happen the move collapsed at about 7pm on Monday.
Burr was disappointed not to get the deal over the line but could look to add to his squad again when the emergency loan window opens on Tuesday.
"I was trying to get someone in and at one point I thought we had a deal sorted bar the paperwork," said Burr.
"We were looking at a forward with a Football League club and it was close but at about 7pm there was a hiccup and it fell down, which was disappointing.
"The loan window opens in a week's time so we might be able to do something but we'll have a look at that next week."
Chester have welcomed back Richards following the end of his temporary spell with Gainsborough.
The 21-year-old, signed from Ilkeston in December 2014, was loaned to the National League North side at the end of December and has spent the past month at Northolme.
He made his final appearance for Trinity in a 1-0 defeat to Bradford Park Avenue at the weekend.
Richards has featured 10 times for the Blues this season and has scored once, heading home the third goal in the 3-2 win over rivals Wrexham in October.
Although he long-term future remains uncertain, the ex-Derby County winger could come into the frame to face Halifax with James Alabi and Ryan Astles cup-tied.
"Kane's been out for a spell with Gainsborough where he got some games but that's ended now and he's been back in with us this week," said Burr.