Thomas Agyepong has vowed to do all he can to repay Hibs for standing by him during an injury-ravaged season in which he has played just 26 minutes of first-team football in the past seven months.
The on-loan Manchseter City winger has been sidelined since damaging a thigh muscle in what was his comeback match against Dundee at the end of November following two months out with a knee injury.
However, the 22-year-old returned to action on Monday, playing the first 45 minutes as Hibs lost 3-2 to Rangers in the SPFL Reserve League and, he revealed, he hopes to persuade boss Paul Heckingbottom he can still play a part in the Easter Road club’s late push for a Europa League place.
Acutely aware that with only five games remaining that time is against him, the Ghana internationalist has his fingers crossed that a another run-out in Monday’s reserve match against Dundee United at Oriam will take him a step closer to a return to top flight action.
Admitting his legs had felt tired after facing Rangers – a match which also saw midfielder Ryan Gauld play for the first half – Agyepong said: “It’s different training all the time compared to playing, so getting match sharpness back is very good for me and I hope it helps me to play again in the first team before the season is over.
“It felt good to get some game-time again after four months without a game, it was important to get on the pitch again. It’s been frustrating being out as I have been wanting to play and help the team. I have worked hard and I will keep working hard to get back to full fitness and contribute again.”
Hibs medical team have worked closely with their City counterparts on Agyepong’s long recovery, the player electing to remain in Edinburgh rather than return to Manchester, but now he’s aiming to hone his match fitness and push himself into the thoughts of Heckingbottom, who has insisted the youngster has “all the attributes” to make an impact.
Agyepong, who has been restricted to only six appearances in a green-and-white shirt and just one start, told the club website: “I know there is no game this weekend, so I may play again in the reserve league and hopefully I will be able to play longer than 45 minutes.
“We have a lot of big matches coming up and I want to be involved, but that is up to the manager. I need to keep working hard in training to impress him, but I want to do this to try to repay the faith everyone at the club has shown me in my time here.”