Hibernian goalkeeper Mark Oxley has expressed his desire to remain at Easter Road beyond the January expiry of his loan deal, insisting he has no intention of kicking his heels at Hull City for the second half of the season.
Oxley, 24, has impressed during his temporary stint in Leith, playing 17 games and proving an able replacement for the excellent Ben Williams, who departed during the summer.
An extraordinary goal on his league debut, beating Livingston counterpart Darren Jamieson with an 80-yard punt, certainly helped to endear him to the Hibs faithful.
Oxley is visibly relishing life in Scotland’s capital and, more importantly, he believes that the first-team football on offer – which was never likely to come at Hull – has enabled him to progress as a goalkeeper.
Little wonder, then, that he is reluctant to embrace the thought of returning south of the border in the new year to spend the rest of the campaign behind Allan McGregor, Steve Harper and Eldin Jakupovic in the pecking order on Humberside.
“I am loving life with Hibs and being in Edinburgh,” beamed Oxley. “Hibs are picking up results and, most importantly for me, I just want to be playing week in, week out.
“We will need to wait until January and see what happens but Hibs are a great club, the staff are great, and the lads are brilliant. I would be happy to stay longer.
“I am at the stage where I need to be playing every week. I have been on the bench at Hull when I was younger and I just don’t want to be doing that anymore.
“I want to make a career for myself and I would be happy to stay here if that is the best option for me to be playing regularly.”
Yet, there were suggestions that Oxley’s loan would come to an end six weeks ago due to Hull manager Steve Bruce stating: “We have got a goalkeeper at Hibernian and we will probably have to call him back.”
Bruce, seemingly failing to grasp the technicalities of cross-border loans, sought to recall Oxley to act as back-up to Jakupovic following injuries to McGregor and Harper.
With Scotland and England controlled by different governing bodies, that would be considered an international transfer, meaning it could only take place when the transfer window re-opens in January.
Nevertheless, Bruce’s words caused a few distressing headlines for those of a Hibs persuasion, coming just seven days before an Edinburgh derby encounter against Hearts.
“It seemed like Steve Bruce wanted to bring me back to Hull City when Allan McGregor got injured,” Oxley recalled.
“But, as far as I was aware, I was a Hibs player until January. Until I got the call from Hull to tell me that I definitely had to go back I was concentrating on playing for Hibs.
“In my mind I was solely focused on the derby game which we were unlucky not to get a result in.”
In that derby, Oxley was beaten by a wondrous effort from distance by Alim Ozturk, rescuing a scarcely deserved 1-1 draw for the ten-man Jambos.
As if that was not painful enough, in his very next outing Oxley landed awkwardly against Cowdenbeath and was subsequently withdrawn at half-time suffering from back spasms.
That complaint kept the Sheffield-born goalkeeper out of Hibs’ next fixture against Queen of the South, although he was fit enough to face Dumbarton last week.
With a delicate back, you could forgive Oxley for approaching three consecutive fixtures on artificial turf with some trepidation.
However, he has played down any fear regarding this afternoon’s Scottish Cup visit to Alloa’s Indodrill Stadium.
“I came for a cross against Cowdenbeath and I just landed awkwardly and it was more about the impact,” he explained.
“I saved a shot later and it didn’t feel right. It kept tightening up and the physio had a look at it but it kept tightening up.
“There was a little crack on the bone but it is much better now.
“I have been training all week and feel fine. I’m not worried about playing on Alloa’s plastic pitch and we have three matches on the bounce on those type of surfaces.
“We have to use the surface to our advantage and pass and zip the ball around. We know what to expect and there will be no excuses.”
Hibs head coach Alan Stubbs claimed this week that the Edinburgh club can belie 112 years of pain by winning the Scottish Cup this season, despite their status as a Championship club this season.
It is a self-assurance reflected by his goalkeeper, who would love a medal from his time in Scotland.
“One hundred and twelve years is a long time,” Oxley said with a smile. “We will try to win it like we do every game, and we were very unlucky in our last cup match against Dundee United.
“We take every game seriously. We will be going there to win the game and progress further in the competition.”