Colchester boss Kevin Keen does not expect midfielder Alex Gilbey will sign a new deal with the League One club.
The 21-year-old, who came through the U's youth ranks, was the subject of interest from Bristol City in January and is out of contract in the summer.
"I doubt very much he'll sign his contract," Keen told BBC Essex.
"But because of his love for the club I have no doubts involving him because as much as anyone he wants the club to do as well as possible."
Keen has previously said Gilbey has the potential to be a Premier League player.
He has scored twice in 32 games for Colchester this season and played in Tuesday's 2-1 win at Bradford to end a 19-game winless league run for the U's.
Despite the result, they remain bottom of the table, 10 points adrift of 20th-placed Shrewsbury, who occupy the place immediately above the relegation zone.