OLI Johnson does not want tomorrow’s game to be the last time he pulls on an Oxford United shirt – for more than one reason.
The winger has had a painkilling injection in an abdominal injury to put himself in contention for the trip to Port Vale.
If results go United’s way, Johnson is hoping to figure prominently in the resulting play-off campaign, but even if it does not go to plan this weekend, the 24-year is keen to stay.
Johnson arrived on a short-term deal in January which expires at the end of the season and has seen enough to be convinced it is the place to further his career.
He said: “Obviously it’s in the back of your mind, the season’s far from being done yet, so it’s not something you speak too much about, but I’m hoping to be here next season.
“I’ve really enjoyed it and settled in well, so hopefully something can be sorted out.
“It’s a fantastic club, one of the best I’ve been at really and I’d be happy to stay. I’ll wait to the end of the season and then talk about it.”
Johnson made an excellent start to his United spell, scoring three goals in the first seven appearances.
His impact during the last month has been limited by the recurrence of a previous injury, which has seen the former Norwich City forward play just 57 minutes in the last six games.
Johnson has been pulling out all the stops to be available for the make or break game at Vale Park.
He said: “I’ve been working hard in the gym and hopefully I’ll be involved.
“It’s got worse over time and become too painful to play comfortably, but I’ve had a painkilling injection and that will hopefully kick in so I can play.
“With it being the last league game of the season, I might as well grin and bear it really and see how much I can contribute to the team.”
Johnson’s last start was in the 2-0 victory at Accrington Stanley in March, the last time the U’s picked up three points.
He has been as surprised as anyone by the slump in results since then and is desperate to give supporters an end of season boost.
“In general the way we’ve been playing hasn’t been too bad and I think we’ve deserved more than we’ve got,” he said.
“For ourselves we can try to end the season on a high, obviously the fans deserve more than they’ve seen in the last few weeks, hopefully we can get a win and they can go home happy.”