Liam Palmer started the season as a Sheffield Wednesday squad player, but hopes to end it with a new Owls deal and Scotland call-up.
The 27-year-old from Worksop has been at Hillsborough since a boy, making over 200 appearances for the Owls since making his debut in 2010.
But he has struggled to make the right-back position his own and after the summer exit of Jack Hunt – sold to Bristol City – then manager Jos Luhukay rotated between Palmer and youngster Ashley Baker.
However, since Luhukay’s sacking in December Palmer has played in 16 consecutive games, 10 of which have resulted in clean sheets – first under caretaker boss Lee Bullen and then new manager Steve Bruce.
With his current deal to expire in the summer, Palmer is hoping to extend his career at Hillsborough.
The defender is set for the added bonus of being included in the provisional Scotland squad for this month’s European Championship qualifying double-header with Kazakhstan and San Marino.
I love the club, I have been here all my life, so it would be nice to stay. It’s always in the back of your mind, but I am just concentrating on playing and hopefully it will take care of itself.Liam Palmer
“I would love to stay here, I have been here since I was a little boy,” said Palmer, capped eight times at Under-21 level for Scotland, for whom he qualifies through his late grandmother.
“I am just concentrating on doing my best for the team, playing well, and leave that (contracts) to the club and my representatives to sort something out.
“I love the club, I have been here all my life, so it would be nice to stay.
“It’s always in the back of your mind, but I am just concentrating on playing and hopefully it will take care of itself.”
Palmer believes not being an Owls regular has hindered his chances of a senior call-up by Scotland in previous seasons.
“For a number of years I have not played regularly enough, so that’s had something to do with why the call never came,” said the right-back, who has shown his versatility with spells in midfield and left-back in recent weeks.
“I have been playing well and it would be an honour to be part of the squad. Fingers crossed.
“There has always been quite good players in my position over the years. Alan Hutton is a regular, he’s had a great career. It’s difficult to dislodge people who get called up every week when you are not playing regular, so I fully understand. I just have to be patient.”
His patience has certainly been rewarded in the last three months at Hillsborough, with some impressive displays.
The Owls are unbeaten in eight league games and with 11 games remaining are just six points off the play-off places ahead of today’s trip to Derby County.
So is this the best form of his Owls career?
“Possibly, yes,” he replied. “That ties in with playing regular, which I have not done for a couple of years now.
“I have been given that confidence from the manager and his staff.
“Also when the team is playing well it goes hand in hand. The form has turned around and we have proven we are hard to beat. When you are in that starting mix it does make it easier.”