Portsmouth striker can dominate League One

Joe Gallen believes Oli Hawkins can dominate defences in League One.Â

Sunday, 19th August 2018, 10:22 am
Updated Sunday, 19th August 2018, 10:25 am

And Pompey's assistant manager wants the striker to continue the nasty streak he displayed in the victory at Blackpool. 

Hawkins moved to the Blues from Dagenham & Redbridge for an undisclosed fee last summer.

He had a stop-start maiden season at Fratton Park, though.

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Hawkins was behind Brett Pitman in the striking pecking order for the majority of the campaign and was also utilised as a makeshift centre-back on occasions. 

However, he impressed during pre-season earlier this summer and started ahead of Pitman in Pompey's 2-1 win over Blackpool.

Kenny Jackett's decision was justified at Bloomfield Road, with the former Hemel Hempstead marksman providing both assists for Ronan Curtis' double.

Hawkins also imposed himself physically on the Tangerines defence, winning plenty of aerial duels as well as free-kicks in dangerous areas.

Gallen has been impressed by the 26-year-old's progress and reckons he has all of the attributes to bully his opponents.

'˜We're very pleased with Oli,' said Jackett's right-hand man. 

'˜Not only did he look mobile (at Blackpool) but he looked aggressive

'˜That's not just because of his skinhead, either, although I think it helps!

'˜He looked a little bit unplayable at times in the air.

'˜To win that many headers with your back to goal, even if you are that size, is not easy.

'˜He looked a bit unplayable in the air, was mobile, held the ball up and linked-up play.

'˜He could dominate the league if he puts it together every week.

'˜As a number nine, he has got everything you would want.'

Despite being a bit-part player last term, Hawkins is set for a more important role in Pompey's promotion push this campaign.

At Blackpool, Hawkins displayed aggression in abundance when spearheading the attack.

That was something Gallen felt the striker perhaps lacked at times last term.

Having shown he is capable of being able of imposing himself on rearguards, Hawkins must now prove he can do it week-in, week-out.

'˜He's got to go and do it again,' added Gallen.

'˜If you ask most coaches, you can't necessarily teach players aggression.

'˜You can help players technically and through the number of games they play can pick up runs and other things.

'˜But you can't give someone aggression.

'˜He played very aggressively at Blackpool. There are times when he hasn't played as aggressive.

'˜But he is lean and strong.

'˜He's a nice lad when you speak to him off the pitch but on the pitch, he has got to turn into someone else.

'˜He's got to go on to the pitch aggressive and then come off the pitch still being the nice lad. He did that at Blackpool.'