Hawkins: I can’t believe I’m at Pompey

Oliver Hawkins signs for Pompey.
Picture: Colin Farmery
Oliver Hawkins signs for Pompey. Picture: Colin Farmery
Pompey midfielder Danny Rose. Picture: Joe Pepler

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HE GREW up watching Peter Crouch lead the line for Pompey.

And, at 6ft 6in, Ollie Hawkins is happy to accept the target-man tag if it comes his way.

But, like Crouch, there’s more to the new signing’s game than simply getting on the end of high balls.

Hawkins arrives at Fratton Park with a reputation as one of the hottest properties in non-league football.

Kenny Jackett has tied him down to a three-year deal from Dagenham & Redbridge, fending off interest from a host of rivals.

The 25-year-old is pinching himself after sealing the move.

Hawkins grew up watching Pompey in their Premier League pomp.

Now he will tread the same turf as Crouch and an illustrious list of the striker’s predecessors.

Hawkins said: ‘It’s all a bit surreal and will take some getting used to being here.

‘To me, this is just a massive club.

‘There were a few clubs in for me but Portsmouth were always number one.

‘It’s a Premier League club. It should be in League One, it should be in the Championship and then the Prem.

‘I’ve grown up on Portsmouth in the FA Cup final and the Crouches and Defoes.

‘I’ll take the target-man tag. But I score goals, create goals and head the ball defensively – I can do a bit of everything.

‘This was the only choice for me. I just want to get out there now and get started.’

Hawkins can now reflect on being a Pompey player with the talk of his signing stretching most of the summer.

The former Hemel Hempstead man admitted there were times he wondered whether that would be the case.

So he’s thankful to Jackett for maintaining his pursuit.

Hawkins said: ‘There were a few times when I thought it wasn’t going to go through.

‘I’m finally here and I can’t stop smiling. Portsmouth have shown interest in me a lot of times so I always hoped it would come.

‘They’ve kept their faith in me and now I want to repay that and do well for them.

‘It’s been on my mind for the last couple of months, so I’m pinching myself I’m here now really and can see it’s all real.

‘I’m taking it all in can’t wait to get going. It’s an exciting time.

‘There were a few bumps in the road.

‘I would have liked to have got it done at the start of the season.

‘But I’ve played a few games in this league now so I can’t wait to get going.’

It’s the prospect of working with Jackett, who has a long record of harnessing young talent, which also appealed to Hawkins.

He added: ‘If you work hard and try your hardest for your club, they can’t fault you.

‘I’m just going to try my hardest, run around and score goals..

‘You can look at his record of the players he’s managed and developed.

‘So I’m just looking forward to getting to work with him and settling in.

‘The manager has told me he likes me as a player and has faith in me.

‘He feels I can do really well here.

‘He wants the best for the club and the best for me. So now I want to progress here and do well.’