Charalampos Mavrias is eager to impress in the coming weeks as he bids to earn himself a contract extension at Hibs.
The Greek right-back arrived in mid-October on a short-term deal until January. After making a belated debut when he played the full 90 minutes of Wednesday’s 2-2 draw at home to St Mirren, the 24-year-old former Panathinaikos and Sunderland player is hoping to do enough in Hibs’ remaining six matches this month to convince the club’s management that he is worthy of a longer contract.
“I am enjoying being at Hibs a lot,” Mavrias told the Evening News. “It is a great club. The organisation and the environment is really good to play football in and to develop. I would like to stay longer. We will see what happens.”
Wednesday’s match was Mavrias’s first competitive outing for a year, with his previous appearance having been a 14-minute cameo as a substitute for Rijeka in Croatia’s top flight last December. After a frustrating period of inactivity, he was understandably relieved to be back on the pitch. “I was very happy to get on the pitch and make my debut but I am also disappointed because I wanted to win the game,” said Mavrias, who is nicknamed Harry. “It was my first official game for a long time so I need a bit of time to get fully up to speed but I feel fit. It is up to the coach whether I play at Hamilton this weekend but I will be ready to give 100 per cent if he needs me.”
Mavrias’s debut coincided with Hibs completing a seventh consecutive match without a victory, including five defeats and a couple of home draws against the league’s bottom two teams.
Reflecting on the St Mirren game, where Hibs twice had to come from behind to earn a point, Mavrias said: “It was a difficult night for the team. Our target was to win the game. I felt we deserved more than a draw because we created enough chances but we need to look forward to the next game. Things are not going for us at the moment, but we need to manage the situation between us and find our good form. We have a very good team with experience and also some good young players. We all need to help each other.
“In training everyone is helping each other. We need to take that into games. Maybe it is do with confidence because we haven’t won for seven games but we need to find a way. We are professional footballers; we need to manage this situation. It is only a matter of time before we get back to our best form.”
Hibs travel to the Hope CBD Stadium tomorrow to face the last side they managed to defeat. Not since Hamilton were swatted aside 6-0 at Easter Road two months ago have Neil Lennon’s experienced the thrill of victory.
While Hibs can take nothing for granted in light of their own recent form, Accies are also likely to be low on confidence given they were crushed 4-0 by bottom-of-the-table Dundee at Dens Park on Wednesday. With tomorrow’s match coming ahead of an intense five-game run in the space of just 13 days in which Hibs face Celtic, Rangers at home, Livingston, Rangers away and Hearts, Mavrias is well aware of the importance of returning to the Capital with a much-needed three points in the bag. “We need to get back on form against Hamilton,” he said. “We have to do our best to win the game. It is very important for our psychology that we get a win because we are in a run of difficult games. Hamilton is a really important game for us. After seven games without a win, we need to perform and get a win.”
Ryan Porteous, meanwhile, admits he has fully sympathy for the Hibs fans who are growing exasperated with the team’s drop-off in form. “I’m exactly like the fans are, frustrated, although you need to take yourself away from that and focus on the football rather than being emotional about it, being down in the dumps and your confidence being low,” said the young centre-back. “We should be beating St Mirren at home and it’s not good enough but we can build on it. If we bounce back against Hamilton it should be forgotten about.”
Assistant manager Garry Parker stated that he and Neil Lennon will be looking to bring in reinforcements next month in order to spark an improvement. Porteous admits the team, who have missed captain David Gray and deputy captain Paul Hanlon for notable segments of the season, could do with some fresh impetus.
“Definitely, January is a time to strengthen the squad,” he said. “We’ve been unlucky with injuries, it’s not an excuse, but we’ve missed our skipper for the last seven games and not won. Maybe it’s a case of getting more leaders or taking more leadership ourselves. Paul Hanlon has not been playing and we’ve maybe not been at our best, big Daz (McGregor) as well.”