Football - O'Leary weighing up future options

Kilmarnock defender Ryan O'Leary admits he is flattered to be linked with a move to Hibernian as he weighs up his options for next season.

PA Sport
Football - O'Leary weighing up future options
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Ryan O'Leary is out of contract in the summer at Kilmarnock

Reports suggest the Edinburgh club are set to make a move for O'Leary, who is out of contract in the summer. O'Leary has an offer on the table to extend his stay at Rugby Park but lack of first-team opportunities recently under boss Kenny Shiels has left a question mark hanging over his future at Kilmarnock.

Asked if he would be interested in a switch to Easter Road, O'Leary said: "It's nice to hear your name linked with a club like Hibs. What was said in the papers was news to me to be honest, so I'm not really clear on that topic.

"It would be interesting to know what's going on because I'm finding myself not playing here. I'll look at my options over the next few months and decide on my future at that point."

O'Leary stressed he has not yet rejected the contract on offer from his current employers, adding: "I've definitely not said no. I've been at Kilmarnock for a long time now. It was Kenny who gave me my shot and I've wanted to repay him.

"When he's chosen me, I don't think I've let myself down or the club down or him down. Obviously if I find myself playing, it's a happier decision to say 'Yes, I'll sign that contract.' But, for now, we will just see what happens."

Kilmarnock were dealt a blow with the news that Manuel Pascali is out for the rest of the season as he prepares for an operation to cure a hamstring problem. But the captain's absence could pave the way for O'Leary to tie down a place in the side and he is ready for the challenge.

He said: "I'm confident in my ability and I proved to myself in the first half of the season that I can come in and do well for the club. Myself and Michael Nelson built up a good partnership and then I found myself out of the team for reasons that were a bit hazy to me, to be honest."

Kilmarnock play host to Aberdeen on Saturday, with both clubs making a push for a place in the top half of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League this season.

O'Leary said: "It will be a tough challenge. There are a lot of teams in the mix looking for that top six position, Aberdeen being one of them. But, after our result last week against Hearts, we will be looking to build on that."

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