New Hibs powerhouse striker tipped by brother Efe to bring goals and character to the side

EFE SODJE revealed today that a week-long trial sold him on Hibs - and convinced him that a move to Easter Road would be the perfect move for his younger brother Akpo.

The Bury defender was brought to Scotland back in 1999 by Alex McLeish as the then-Hibs boss pondered a move for the Nigerian international defender. Sodje loved the club, the city and the Hibs supporters but lost out on a permanent switch from Macclesfield Town because only one contract was on offer, and McLeish opted to give that to Mathias Jack, who had also been on trial at the same time.

Despite losing out on a deal, Sodje has only fond memories of his short time in Edinburgh and believes that striker Akpo, who has penned an 18-month deal at Easter Road, will love life at Hibs.

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Sodje senior, now player-coach at Bury, said: "Akpo called me up when the move to Hibs first came about and said that he had a chance to stay at Charlton or to move to Easter Road. I told him that he should go for it, especially when you're talking about an 18-month contract. We were speaking about it for a while about it and I said how much I had enjoyed my time at Hibs, even if it had only been for a week. I think it will be a great move for him.

"I had a trial up at Hibs back in 1999 when Alex McLeish was the manager of the side.

I enjoyed working with him for that week and I think that he wanted to keep me but he could only take one player at that time.

"It was between me and another guy from Germany, another defender, and they gave the contract to him.

"I couldn't wait around so I signed almost immediately for Luton and it turned out okay for me in the end.

"To be honest, I had a great time there, I thought it was a great club and the rest of the lads were too.

"Akpo was telling me that the facilities they have at Hibs now are unbelievable and that they have built their own training centre since the time I was up there on trial."

Akpo certainly looks like he could make an instant impact on the Hibs side, having set up their first goal in last Wednesday night's 2-0 win over St Mirren.

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The former Charlton hitman was given almost 70 minutes at Easter Road by new boss Colin Calderwood and justified his selection by flicking on a Murray header for Riordan to score the opener in the crucial match against Danny Lennon's side.

Efe telephoned his brother on Thursday morning to congratulate him not only on Hibs' first win of 2011, but also the contribution he made in bagging all three points.

The big defender believes that his sibling will be a huge hit with the Hibs fans, not only for his goals, but also for his larger-than-life character on and off the pitch, and continued: "I spoke to my brother on Thursday morning after the St Mirren match and he was delighted to have been involved.

"He told me that he really enjoyed the game, I think he played a part in the first goal, and that Hibs are a great team with great supporters. Scottish people are very passionate, especially about their football and that's probably one of the reasons why he will fit in so well.

"I think that the Hibs fans will like him because he was also got a lot of passion for the game and he is a very committed player.

"If they allow him to get a good run of games then they will see the best of him, he's capable of scoring goals, setting them up and is an all-round powerful player. I think every team needs a player like that."

He believes that Akpo's goals can help turn Hibs' fortunes around after a disappointing few months in both the league and cup competitions.

And he promised the Hibs fans something a bit different every time their new striker hits the back of the net: "I definitely believe that he can help turn things around for them - the luck is already there," he added. "He's played one game for them and they have got their first goals and their first win of the year. What more can you ask for?

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"I think that he will get a good few goals for Hibs, and if he does, the Hibs fans are in for a treat because his celebrations are always something a bit special. He does all of this traditional African dancing and he's a real entertainer.

"And his confidence will just get higher and higher the more games that he plays and goals that he scores.

"He's a bit of a character and I think he'll be great to have around in the dressing room. Some people are quite shy when they first arrive at a new club but that's not him at all and he'll help get a good atmosphere going in training and before matches."

Efe, who is instantly recognisable on the pitch because of the various colours of kufi - a brimless, short, rounded cap traditionally worn by African people - that he sports on his head during games, should know what he is talking about when it comes to his brother's footballing capabilities, having played alongside him at Huddersfield

Apko and Efe are just two of four Sodje brothers who play the game, Notts County's Sam makes up the trio who are professional, while their other brother, named Bright, used to play rugby union and rugby league.

The Bury defender admitted that being successful in their respective sporting careers is a huge source or pride in their family and that he and some of the rest of the Sodje clan are hoping to travel to Scotland to give Akpo their support in person: "We all play football and three of us professionally. It's good for us all individually and as a family.

"Akpo and I talk on the phone all the time, whether it's about family stuff that's going on or whether it's about football and how we've done in our games.

"I am going to try to come up and see him play for Hibs as much as I can. Obviously, we all play our own games but if there are Sunday matches when I'm not training or playing myself then I would love to go to Easter Road.

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"Although I trained with the club, I never got a chance to be at Easter Road for a game because it was pre-season when I was there. The Scottish people are really friendly, it's a beautiful city and the club has got a good stadium and good facilities and I think it would be good to come up for an Edinburgh derby to see what it's like."

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