New boy can make quick Pompey impact

Brandon Haunstrup has been a regular for Pompey this season. Picture: Joe Pepler
Brandon Haunstrup has been a regular for Pompey this season. Picture: Joe Pepler
Stuart O'Keefe battles Osman Sow for the ball. Picture: Joe Pepler

O’Keefe: Pompey have finally clicked

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Kenny Jackett is convinced Oliver Hawkins is ready to impact League One.

The Pompey boss has no reservations about the striker being able to quickly make his mark in the third tier after arriving at Fratton Park.

Jackett had a successful conclusion to his lengthy pursuit of the Dagenham & Redbridge striker this week, as he signed on a three-year deal.

Hawkins is regarded as one of the hottest properties in non-league football.

And Jackett, inset, has every faith he can hit the ground running at Pompey.

He said: ‘I’m really pleased to bring him in.

‘He’s a striker I’ve seen for a number of years. I think he’s ready for the step up now.

‘I think he can step up the two divisions quite capably.

‘He has a good frame, isn’t slow and is a big threat in both boxes.

‘He’s someone who can complement the people we have around.

‘He’ll complement Brett Pitman and Conor Chaplin really well and bring something different to our front line.

‘I’ve watched him for quite a while at Dagenham & Redbridge.

‘They do produce quite a lot of players there. He’s the latest one.

‘It’s taken some time over the course of the past few months to get it over the line.

‘But I’m pleased to say we got him 24 hours before the window closed.

‘I hope he’s ready. He has to start somewhere. He’s only done a couple of sessions, so we’ll assess where he is and whether he can play a part.

‘He’s come to help us and help us now. For him he needs to be stretched and tested – he’s capable of responding.

‘He’s a player out of non-league we think is ready for the step up and can thrive both in League One and at Portsmouth.’

Jackett had to be patient to get Hawkins this week in the face of interest from a number of clubs.

He said: ‘The deal had to be right for both clubs.

‘Non-league sides are happy for their lads to move on but financially it’s got to be right for them.

‘So it did take some negotiating but that’s quite right, too. We got to the stage where we’re happy.’

At 6ft 6in, Hawkins has been branded a target man in his career.

He’s happy to take on that tag but believes he has more to offer – as does Jackett.

Jackett said: ‘He has good touch and good skill. He also works very, very hard.

‘He’s a big threat in the box and there’s not many of that type around.

‘Especially with winter coming, to have someone like that is a good one.

‘There’s also a freshness, enthusiasm and hunger to prove himself.

‘That’s a big thing whatever type of player you are and whatever opposition you’re in.

‘When you’re in the non-league you will want that chance and opportunity to make it.’