First interview: Charalampos Mavrias on his big chance at Hibs
Greek internationalist Charalampos Mavrias has insisted he's in it for the long haul at Easter Road despite having only signed a three-month deal.
The 24-year-old revealed he believes joining Hibs was the right move for him having been without a club since his contract with Croatian side Rijeka ended in June.
Since then the former Panathinaikos and Sunderland player has resisted offers to return to Greece, happy to patiently await an opportunity elsewhere.
Mavrias – known as Harry – is a former team-mate of Hibs striker Florian Kamberi having played alongside him with German side Karlsruhe. And, having seen the impact the Swiss striker has had in Scotland’s capital, he is determined to follow in his footsteps.
He said: “It’s a great chance for me. I came here a couple of weeks ago on trial to see how things would go and I am really happy I will play for Hibs.
“It is a short contract, but it is a good chance for me. If I do well in training and take my chances in games then it’s in my hands. It’s my target to stay for longer. This is what I have been doing from 16 years of age so I know I can work hard and if they give me my chance I will take it.”
Not surprisingly, Kamberi gave Mavrias the thumbs-up in regard to a move to Hibs.
The former Sunderland player said: “Flo told me good things about the club. I had followed what he was doing and knew he was here and saw how he did well and helped the club.
“I left my last team at the end of June and I was looking for a good move. I had some offers from some Greek teams, but I didn’t want to go back to Greece. There are only really four or five teams there now, the level below that is really low. I didn’t want to go back for that reason. I know I started playing there for Panathinaikos and from there I got the chance to move to Sunderland and that was great.
“Now I would like to stay abroad. So I waited a bit and then I got an offer to come to Hibs for a trial. I thought it was my best opportunity to get back to a high level. So I tried to do my best and then they made me an offer.”
Having moved from Greece to Wearside in a reputed £2.1 million deal, Mavrias found life at Sunderland difficult, not least because of the constant change of manager. He said: “I was 19 years old and the point for me was to go somewhere and try to play. Paulo Di Canio was the manager who signed me and I played six or seven games straight away. But then the coach changed and I didn’t get my chance any more.
“There was Di Canio, Gus Poyet, Sam Allardyce, Dick Advocaat, David Moyes – I don’t know if I’ve missed someone out – I’ve said five already,
“It’s difficult, especially in the Premier League. They have a lot of money and in every transfer period they are spending a lot of money. It is hard for players because someone else is coming in and you have to step back a little bit.”
At Easter Road, though, Mavrias believes there is a great balance between youth and experience plus, of course, head coach Neil Lennon.
He said: “He is really experienced and when you know you will work with a manager like him it is good for a player.
“I know Hibs are one of the top teams in Scotland and that this season they are doing really well. I have seen some games and they are really strong.”
Lennon said: “Harry is another player down the right hand side, he can play a number of positions down that flank. He looks in good condition, he handles the ball well and he is experienced. He has a bit of a pedigree about him and we were impressed by him.”