CHARIS Mavrias says he is desperate to make this his breakthrough season at Sunderland.
And after being involved in the club’s opening friendly against Darlington 1883 at the weekend, the young Greek prospect hopes he will be given more chances to shine in the games against Carlisle tonight and Hartlepool United tomorrow.
“I cannot complain about last season, though I would have liked to played more,” he told SportMail
“I did manage to play first-team football and I did score a goal but I was still very new here – it was my first season in England, my first season in the Premier League.
“So in this coming season I would like to think I could do much more.”
Mavrias was one of the dozen signings made by former Director of Football Roberto Di Fanti in what proved to be a fatally flawed recruitment process last summer
Of all the permanent signings overseen by the Italian ex-scout, only Vito Mannone really proved a success last season.
The likes of key signings Cabral and Modibo Diakite barely featured, while big money signing Jozy Altidore failed to fire and Valentin Roberge and Emanuele Giaccherini were unable to nail down regular first-team places.
But while De Fanti was rightly sacked on the back of a terrible transfer window, Mavrias is determined to prove he should not be numbered among the flops.
A Greek Under 21 regular, Mavrias made half-a-dozen first-team appearances for the Black Cats last season, the highlight of which was undoubtedly scoring the match-winner against Kidderminster Harriers in the FA Cup.
Now he plans to push for a place in the first-team squad this season as a reinforcement on the wing.
“That is my hope,” he said.
“For the moment I am just happy to be back at Sunderland and still in with a chance of a future here.
“Now I have a season at the club, I feel settled and happy and I want to succeed here.
“I am only 20-years-old and I am continuing to improve.
“I learned a lot last season and I think I can build on that this season.”
He was deployed at right-back in the opening friendly against Darlington at the weekend because of the club’s shortage of options in that position but still managed to put in crosses regularly and even have a shot at goal.
“It was good education to be playing at right-back because wingers need to defend too!” he smiled.
“But I was glad to be able to get crosses in and I was going to go for goal at any stage if the chance appeared.
“It’s all about trying to show the manager what you can do.
“I was happy with how I played against Darlington and hopefully I will get a chance to play again with games coming up now against Carlisle and Hartlepool.”
– GRAEME ANDERSON