Palmer puts thoughts of January exit on back burner

Ollie Palmer netted a hat-trick on Saturday. Picture: Dave Haines
Ollie Palmer netted a hat-trick on Saturday. Picture: Dave Haines
Theo Widdrington. Picture: Sarah Standing (170841-4476)

Pompey midfielder out to turn Jackett’s head

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Ollie Palmer insisted his focus is on firing the Hawks into the promotion picture.

The striker leads the Blue Square Bet South scoring charts with 14, after his treble in the 5-2 crushing of AFC Hornchurch on Saturday.

He’s hungry for more goals tonight when the Hawks travel to Tonbridge Angels (7.45pm).

Recent reports have linked Charlton, Derby and Huddersfield to the player but no move has materialised in the early stages of the January transfer window.

Palmer, who is contracted to the Hawks for the remainder of the season, with the club having an option to extend it for another year, is keeping his feet on the ground.

And he has paid tribute to the work of Westleigh Park manager Lee Bradbury in helping him continue his fine form.

Palmer said: ‘I have made no secret of my dream to play in the Football League.

‘A couple of clubs have invited me to train with them but the manager and I don’t believe that is the way forward.

‘Lee Bradbury has been great because he has been in the professional game and understands the situation from a player’s viewpoint.

‘He is helping me both on and off the pitch.

‘At the moment, I am concentrating on doing my best for the Hawks and loving every minute of it.

‘We have a great set of lads here who are prepared to work hard for each other.

‘The hat-trick was my first for the club and all the players signed the ball for me.’

The emphatic win over AFC Hornchurch took the Hawks up to 12th in the league and within seven points of the play-off zone.

Things are certainly looking bright for Bradbury ahead of tonight’s quest to claim three points at Tonbridge.

Palmer and Sahr Kabba have been developing a potent partnership up front.

Kabba was also on the mark in the win over the Urchins, while young defender Dan Strugnell netted the other goal.

The strikers are currently being ably supported by the pace and power of Christian Nanetti and Chris Arthur on the flanks.

The only disappointment for the Hawks is their tendency to give away poor goals.

If they can remedy that in Kent, they will stand every chance of picking up another win.

‘We are looking to get all three points at Tonbridge,’ said Palmer.

‘They have already drawn 2-2 at our place, so it won’t be easy.

‘Another couple of wins, though, will put us in contention for the play-offs and the team is full of confidence at the moment.’

Palmer has also been delighted with the assistance of Hawks fans who stepped in to help ensure his nephew was kitted out on his big day as a club mascot.

He said: ‘The fans have been great and recently helped fund the Hawks shirt for my nephew when he was mascot.

‘I can’t thank them enough for that.’

Hawks: Masters, Newton, Strugnell, Harris, Butler, Hutchinson, Ryan, Arthur, Nanetti, Palmer, Kabba, Ramsey, Jones, Whyte, Bailey, Hinshelwood.