Alan Stubbs today told new goalkeeper Antonio Reguero that Mark Oxley remains Hibs’ No.1 after the Spanish star signed a one-year deal with the Easter Road club.
But the head coach expects Reguero, who has joined his new team-mates at their training camp in the south of Spain, to provide competition for the former Hull City man, who himself only recently clinched a new two-year contract.
Madrid-born Reguero was at home when he received the call from the Capital club and agreed to travel to La Manga where a medical and the formalities were completed and he gladly inked a deal.
And Stubbs, who last week had cast an eye over 23-year-old Swiss goalkeeper Sascha Struder, admitted he was delighted to have the former Inverness Caley, Kilmarnock and Ross County keeper on board. He told the Evening News: “It was obviously a position we wanted to progress quickly and I’m happy that it’s been resolved. Tony had been back in Madrid training so it made sense for him to join us here rather than come back to Edinburgh and then head out to La Manga.”
Stubbs has made it clear to 33-year-old Reguero that Oxley, nine years his junior, will start the season with the gloves, the big Yorkshireman having played all but one of Hibs’ matches during his time on loan from Hull City.
But he is convinced Reguero, who started his career as a youngster with Real Madrid, won’t be content to simply warm the bench every week.
He said: “Mark is my recognised No. 1 and, I think, rightly so. He will start the season as such, I see no reason why that should change but Tony will give him stern competition and for whatever reason should that situation change then we have someone that’s able to come in right away.
“Last season we brought in Tomas Cerny but unfortunately because Mark’s level of performance was very good in the main, Tomas wasn’t able to get that opportunity.
“Tony knows the situation but I’m sure he won’t be happy just to be No. 2. I think for every professional football player, whether you have two right backs, two central midfielders or two left backs, you have to make sure you are good enough that when you get that chance you grab it with both hands and make it difficult for me to put you back out of the team.
“Tony knows the Scottish game and we now have two keepers who are going to push each other, but in the right way.
“I could easily have gone down the road of bringing in a younger, less experienced goalkeeper from England – Struder fell into that category – but sometimes they can turn out to be very good and sometimes not so good.
“I think this season we wanted to go along the tried and tested route. Tony will be able to help Mark, to push him and give us that experience as and when we need it.”