Mark Oxley did not have far to look as he sought counsel on his loan move from Hull City to Hibernian and the advice from team-mate Allan McGregor was unequivocal: “Go for it”.
Oxley was training with the Scotland internationalist during Hull’s pre-season training camp in Portugal last week when he first learned of interest from Hibs. The next step was to gather the thoughts of the Scots around him as he mulled over an initial six-month move that is likely to become a season-long agreement for the former England under-20 goalkeeper.
If the 23-year-old was initially unconvinced of the merits of joining a revamped Hibs squad slowly recovering from the torment of relegation from the Premiership, he has revealed the recommendations he received were persuasive.
“There’s Allan McGregor at Hull, who I know was born in Edinburgh,” he said. “I mentioned it to him to see what his thoughts were and straight away he said it would be a great league this season.
“Obviously he was at Rangers, so he knows that Rangers are a big club and Hearts are a big club, and Hibs are a big club. So, as soon as I spoke to him he said: ‘Go for it’.
“When I first got a call I mentioned it to him over in Portugal and Robert Snodgrass also said there would probably be more people talking about the Championship this season than the Premiership.
“I don’t know if that’s going to be true but that’s the way he sees it and obviously there are three really big teams in the league.
“It’s going to be a decent league and I see it as a challenge.”
Oxley joined Hull in August 2008 but has only managed one top-team appearance since then amid a flurry of loan moves.
And he has confessed that, with his future prospects seriously limited under McGregor, Steve Harper and Swiss internationalist Eldin Jakupovic at the KC Stadium, the fact he felt wanted by Hibs head coach Alan Stubbs was a massive factor in agreeing to come north.
The 23-year-old added: “As soon as I met the manager I thought: ‘This is the club for me’.
“The other main factor was the manager wanted me to come here. Sometimes, you get a move on the back of your agent having to do a ring around. But to have a man like the manager, who has had a brilliant career in the game, to actually want you to come and play every week, that means a lot.”
Meanwhile, Oxley insists Scotland cap Andrew Robertson is joining the right club after he and the Dundee United defender crossed paths at the Border.
With Robertson completing his £2.85 million switch south yesterday, Oxley believes the left-back’s talents will be carefully nurtured by Hull boss Steve Bruce.
Oxley commented: “The staff there at the moment are great for promoting British players. I don’t think we’ve got many foreigners in the squad and that speaks volumes for the way the manager’s trying to blood young British talent.
“Even if he doesn’t go straight into the first team, the good thing about the manager is he will give you a chance. If he was to take his chance I’m sure he would be there to stay.
“There’s a great set of lads at Hull. Most of them are either Irish or Scottish or English, so it’s a tight-knit squad and I’m sure he’ll fit in great.”