With his contract expiring at the end of May, and no news yet of a new deal, goalkeeper David Marshall could be into the last nine games of his Hibs career.

The recently turned 39-year-old remains Nick Montgomery’s first-choice 'keeper, racking up nearly 3500 minutes of football this season, which has left backup shot-stopper Jojo Wollacott with limited game time. Were the Ghanaian internationalist in line for the No.1 spot at Easter Road next season, or even under consideration, surely he would have enjoyed greater game time this campaign - which may indicate that Hibs are in the market for a new goalkeeper this summer.

The chart below plots Marshall’s long-term performance by showing the goals he was expected to concede, minus the goals he actually conceded. This gives an indication of whether or not he was under or overperforming on a ten-game rolling average basis.

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Whilst Marshall has real strengths as a goalkeeper - for example, his shot-stopping, command of his box and overall experience - the peaks and troughs of the chart highlight one of Marshall’s main weaknesses, which is inconsistency.

The table below shows where Marshall currently sits among his Scottish Premiership peers on a prevented goals basis. This means Marshall has conceded 1.39 goals more than he should have. Whilst that isn’t drastic, Marshall was as low as -4.38 prevented goals last season, meaning Hibs cannot rely on Marshall to make big saves regularly.

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It deserves to be noted, however, that Marshall's form has improved this season under new goalkeeping coach Miguel Miranda, and Montgomery has on more than one occasion singled him out as a shining example of a player adapting to his managerial methods.

But taking the above data into account, it could be said that goalkeeper is a position where Hibs could do with an upgrade. Should that be the case, are there any obvious candidates out there? And if so, who are they?

The Scottish Premiership is a good place to start and this season’s standout goalkeeper has been St Johnstone’s Dimitar Mitov. The Bulgarian has enjoyed a productive first season in Scotland and leads the way for prevented goals. He is also dominant in the air, ranking first in the league for the number of aerial balls he has come for. With good experience from stints in League One and League Two in England with Cambridge United, Mitov has also come to the attention of his national team, starting a recent friendly against Tanzania, playing the full 90 minutes and keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory. 

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Through the strengthening links with Bournemouth, another Scottish-based option could be Will Dennis. Currently on loan with Kilmarnock, the 23-year-old may be on the younger side and lacking higher-level experience, but that hasn’t stopped him from having a strong season at Killie, preventing 4.12 goals more than expected and being pretty dominant in the air as well.

Motherwell’s Liam Kelly could also be another strong option for Hibs. The 'Well club captain's contract runs out at the end of May and he will be available on a free transfer. His Scottish Premiership and national-team experience, along with his calm approach to leadership, will be an attractive package for many teams. Whilst it could be said he has underperformed this year, Kelly has proven himself in the past to be a top ‘keeper, particularly with the ball at his feet, which could give Hibs a safer option when playing out from the back.

Looking slightly further afield Liam Roberts, currently on loan from Middlesbrough at Barnsley, has had an impressive season. Now 29, Roberts has saved five goals more than expected this season, contributing positively to the Tykes' promotion push. He’s also pretty safe with the ball at his feet although the stats suggest he is less dominant in the air than others. He is a free agent come the summer, and Barnsley may want to sign him permanently - but he’s a player Hibs should at least be looking at.

A more left-field option could be Darren Randolph, who is on the books at Bournemouth. His contract also happens to run out at the end of this season and a move for the Irishman might not be the worst idea. Still only 36, Randolph previously enjoyed a successful spell at Motherwell which earned him a move down south. He has accepted a string of backup and third-choice roles at clubs in recent years including with the Cherries, for whom he is yet to make a first-team appearance, but a wealth of experience from stints in the Premier League and English Championship, to say nothing of 50 caps for the Republic of Ireland, highlights his pedigree. 

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This last option is certainly one for the future. A-League rising star Alex Paulsen has been making a name for himself this season in goal for league leaders Wellington Phoenix. Montgomery will no doubt be aware of the New Zealander’s performances this season which has seen him prevent an incredible 12.35 goals more than expected.

He also ranks second in the league for aerial involvements (claiming or punching the ball) and is fairly reliable with the ball at his feet. All of this at the age of 21 in his breakout season is very impressive and something that is hard for clubs like Hibs to ignore.

Whatever Hibs decide to do in the summer, signing a first-choice goalkeeper will almost certainly be a priority. Despite having had an excellent career, and with the caveat that his performances this campaign have shown a marked improvement on last season, Marshall’s age-related decline has been evident for some time, and Hibs need a consistent performer in goal who can fill those gloves and make big saves in key moments.