AARON Tshibola hopes the steep “learning curve” he is experiencing at Hartlepool United will help him break into the Reading first team next season.
But he insists his immediate focus is on helping Pools finish the job he helped to start – by staying in the Football League.
The 20-year-old midfielder has been an ever present since signing on loan from the Royals in January, helping Pools climb out of the drop zone in March.
Since then Pools haven’t picked up a win but remain a point above the bottom two in Sky Bet League Two, with two games to go.
Tshibola admits securing safety remains a “massive” task but Ronnie Moore’s side are in pole position to stay up ahead of the visit of Exeter City on Saturday.
He said: “I just want to keep my head down, work hard in games and get better and hopefully the rest will take care of itself.
“I have enjoyed my spell here and I want to take the experiences I have gained at Pools back to Reading in the summer.
“My loan spell can only benefit me as it has been an experience – a big one – and one I want to use to then push on next season and break into the first team at Reading.
“For now, though, my focus is on the massive task we face – keeping Hartlepool in the league.
“We are on the way and now we need to finish the job.”
Exeter are within four points of a play-off spot and will be no pushovers this weekend.
But with relegation rivals Tranmere Rovers travelling to play-off chasing Plymouth Argyle and Cheltenham hosting title-hopefuls Shrewsbury, Pools won’t have a better chance of securing their league place.
Tshibola is looking to play his part and score his first goal for the club.
He came close away at Newport County, heading the ball down to on-loan Preston North End striker Jordan Hugill who flicked it into the net on the line.
London-born Tshibola, who has been struggling for form in recent matches, admits there are a lot of aspects of his game that still need to improve.
He added: “As a midfielder you have to set yourself targets, if you’re not scoring goals you have to make them.
“If you’re not making them then help the defence to stop goals.
“Every game I set myself targets and I am trying to add to my game.
“I am still waiting for my first goal – Newport was close, but Jordan nicked it on the line!
“I will take an assist all day though as long as the team is winning.
“I am on a massive learning curve here and that is one area I can improve, for sure.
“But of course there are still a lot of things to work on, both in matches and on the training pitch.
“For me, goals and assists are as good as each other and I am always looking to learn and develop.”