James Keatings admits he has a major decision on his hands as he weighs up whether or not to sign a new contract with Hibs.
The striker loves life at Easter Road and in an ideal scenario would have no hesitation in extending his two-year stay with the club. However, the 25-year-old craves more action in his favoured position as an out-and-out striker and concedes he will have to consider all his options before making a final decision.
“You never know what’s ahead,” he said. “I’ve got my offer here and there are other teams that have showed interest as well. I want to stay here, I’m happy and I would be delighted to sign tomorrow morning so we’ll see what happens.
“It’s not something you jump at, you need to think about your personal stuff and what’s best for you. I’m loving my time here, the last two season have been amazing and I don’t want to look elsewhere. I’m sitting with my contract first, other teams have shown interest but I’m delighted to have the offer from Hibs and I’m hoping I’ll still be here.”
Keatings has made the majority of his 16 starts this season out wide or in a more withdrawn central role. Asked if the prospect of starting regularly elsewhere in his favoured position of striker would influence his thinking regarding his future, Keatings said: “It makes it difficult. Ask any player, they want to play week-in, week-out. No player wants to settle for sitting on the bench, that’s the most frustrating bit.
“You want to be a big part of the success and this season I’ve played a part although I wish I could have played more. At the start of the season when I was in the team I was doing well but then I got an injury and it killed my season after that.”
Keatings has scored 30 goals in 57 starts for Hearts and Hibs during the past three seasons and is convinced he would be even more lethal if he could play regularly as an out-and-out striker. He recognises that he is in direct competition with top scorer Jason Cummings, who is regarded as the hottest young forward in Scotland. With Cummings rested against Raith Rovers on Wednesday, Keatings seized a rare chance to play in his favoured position when he scored a double in a 3-2 victory at Easter Road to take his tally for the season to seven. “I’ve always said I’m a striker. I managed to get a chance and I was happy knowing I would be in my position, and I managed to grab two goals so I’m delighted,” he said.