The man to terrorise League One defences for Portsmouth

Oli Hawkins is becoming a forward to strike fear into League One defences. Â

Wednesday, 19th December 2018, 2:46 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:18 am
Oli Hawkins celebrates his opener at Peterborough. Picture: Joe Pepler

Kenny Jackett believes the striker is being moulded into the complete all-round target man for his side.

And the Pompey boss feels the 6ft 5in powerhouse now believes he belongs in the professional game.

Hawkins is now enjoying his second season in League One after arriving from Dagenham & Redbridge just after the start of last term.

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Oli Hawkins celebrates his opener at Peterborough. Picture: Joe Pepler

The 26-year-old has seven goals to his name this term, including a run of six finishes from eight outings.

But it's his all-round game which continues to be so important to the manner in which his side play, and Jackett feels the development he's made in that area is obvious to see.

He said: '˜I feel Oli's had a good season so far.

'˜It was a promising first season out of non-league. He did well. He had a good club at the whole thing. He had a good look at the club, at the division and the professional game.

'˜It's his first time after being at Hemel Hempstead and Dagenham & Redbridge in the National League.

'˜He's not come in as a kid. I did feel he was ready for it.

'˜This season he's stepped on again. He's learnt and learnt well.

'˜The big thing for Oli is management of his own body.

'˜He's a big lad and getting the best out of himself is a big thing.

'˜We felt sometime he could be in situations and pick up injuries which were slightly different to anyone else. You get someone like Ben Thompson who has a low centre of gravity. The dynamics are slightly different for Oli.

'˜For him, he's grown as the season has gone on and been quite a key player for us.

'˜Since he's come in it's been about heading less balls and getting more balls on his chest. We wanted him to bring other people into play and help construct good moves.

'˜It's about helping us get goals and not shying away from the fact he needs to score goals himself. For him, he's a work in progress but someone who's improving all the time.'

Jackett believes much of Hawkins' progress comes from been able to eradicate self-doubt from his game.

He added: '˜He knows he can do it at this level and do it at this club. That's quite a big breakthrough as a player.

'˜You can have a spell out of the side, whether it's for injury form or someone else doing better. But he knows he can do it at this level. That's a big thing when you step up two levels.'