MAKRIS JUST SO CHUFFED TO END HIS LONG WAIT...

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Luke Baker

AS A striker, a 30-match goal drought to be­gin your ca­reer at a club is far from ideal.

And when you’re also the team’s record sign­ing, that sort of bar­ren run quickly be­comes dis­as­trous.

So you can un­der­stand why An­dreas Makris was so de­lighted to break his Wal­sall duck last week­end.

His per­se­ver­ance was fi­nally re­warded as he net­ted a stun­ning 20-yard vol­ley in the 1-1 draw with Ox­ford, 31 games into his ten­ure in the west Mid­lands.

“It’s al­ways nice to score – it has been a long time that I was wait­ing for this goal!” said the 13cap Cyprus in­ter­na­tional.

“I had to get through some dif­fi­cult days here but now I’m stronger and I want to keep do­ing what I do best. I never gave up and that was a re­ward for my hard work.

“Of course I was wor­ried and I wanted to get that first goal – my job is to score and it was tough for me not scor­ing for so long.

“I had a lot of pres­sure on me and be­ing the record sign­ing added some ex­tra pres­sure – I had to show why the man­ager (Jon Whit­ney) paid so much for me.

“It’s a real boost for my con­fi­dence and if I get chances, I’m con­fi­dent I will keep this go­ing. Now is the time to kick on and do what I know I can.”

The 21-year-old signed for the Sad­dlers from Cypriot side Anortho­sis Fa­m­a­gusta for an undis­closed club-record fee last sum­mer.

He had been an emerg­ing star in Cyprus – named as the Young Player of the Year in one sea­son and cho­sen in the First Di­vi­sion team of the sea­son in another. Yet it didn’t pre­pare him for life in League One.

“English foot­ball is very dif­fer­ent to Cypriot foot­ball,” said Makris. “The league in Cyprus starts af­ter the leagues over here, so I wasn’t 100 per cent ready for the start of the sea­son be­cause I came over quite late.

“In Eng­land the leagues are much stronger and phys­i­cal – it’s not so easy to play. There is more abil­ity in Cyprus but not so much strength or long balls.

“I have al­ways been a fan of English foot­ball and I thought I knew what I was get­ting into but it wasn’t quite what I ex­pected. League One was a lot more dif­fi­cult than I thought.

“When you play over here you re­alise, but if you aren’t here you can’t un­der­stand how hard it is. The English leagues are the best in the world.”

Wal­sall reached the play-offs last term, but have had to set­tle for midtable this time around.

“This year was a build­ing year for Wal­sall go­ing into next sea­son and the sea­sons af­ter that,” ex­plained Makris.

“Lots of play­ers left last sum­mer be­cause last year was a re­ally good sea­son for the club. Play­ers moved to other clubs be­cause they had played so well.

“A lot of new play­ers came to the team and you need to give time for them to ad­just to the game of their team-mates. That is nor­mal and we will build to­wards the next sea­sons.”

QUAL­ITY: An­dreas Makris, left, in ac­tion for Cyprus against Bos­nia & Herze­gov­ina’s Eden Dzeko

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