Middlesbrough forward Matthew Hoppe feels he is reaping the benefits of his loan move to Hibernian, although he is intent on becoming more potent in front of goal.
The 22-year-old American joined the Hibees in January on a deal until the end of the season after struggling for game time at his parent club.
Hoppe has featured in Hibs’ last six matches, starting three of them, and has notched one goal so far.
“I think it was the right decision for me to come here and get playing time at a big club and contribute to hopefully getting into the top six,” he said of his move to the cinch Premiership club. “It feels like the right move and a good step in my career.
“I’m enjoying it. Soccer-wise, I think I’m developing. I’m getting bigger, stronger, faster. And off the field, Edinburgh is an amazing city that I’m enjoying exploring.
“In terms of my development, I think there’s been some good things and some things I need to work on. I can see that sometimes when I’m playing I need to be in different positions and that would help me get more goals.
“It’s a learning curve but I’m improving game by game. I’ve just got to bring it all together and hopefully get some more goals for the team.”
Hoppe joined Boro last summer from Mallorca on a four-year contract and is due to return to Teesside at the end of the season.
“I don’t know how it’s going to pan out,” he said when asked about his future. “I’m just focusing on the next three games and trying to achieve top six and then hopefully we get to Europe from there. That’s the focus and then we’ll see what happens for next season.”
Sixth-placed Hibs travel to bottom-of-the-table Dundee United on Sunday knowing they still have plenty of work to do over their next three matches in order to seal a top-six place, with Livingston just a point below them.
“Our number one goal is to achieve top six so we just have to focus on the next three games,” said Hoppe. “We need nine points, hopefully.
“Everyone at the club wants to get there and then qualify for Europe. We’re all hungry for it so it’s a pretty intense time but I think we have what it takes to get there. We need to be more consistent though.”