Hawkins encouraged by fresh Portsmouth strike partnership

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Oli Hawkins is convinced Pompey’s fledgling strikeforce showed encouraging signs.

The towering forward was recalled to Kenny Jackett’s side in place of Brett Pitman for Saturday’s trip to AFC Wimbledon.

Oli Hawkins retains possession against AFC Wimbledon. Picture: Joe Pepler

Oli Hawkins retains possession against AFC Wimbledon. Picture: Joe Pepler

He was also matched with Jamal Lowe, the winger operating in a more central role in the Blues’ starting XI.

For 63 minutes, the duo linked up well during an impressive display from the visitors – only for Jamie Hanson’s lifeline to force a rearguard action.

Nonetheless, when Pompey were in full flow for two thirds of the Kingsmeadow fixture, the attacking threat throughout the side was delightful, culminating in a 2-1 win.

Hawkins said: ‘It was a very good team performance, responding from defeat in our last game to coming away with three points.

‘We played to the conditions, went two up front and knew if we could get the ball in behind or up to myself and work second balls then it would cause Wimbledon problems. It worked.

‘For the first half I felt I did well, in tough conditions I held the ball up and I was able to free Jamal to run behind when he needed to. Then when the ball was cleared, I could hold it for other players.

‘We started quite well in the second half, had a couple of chances. Then they scored and maybe our players dropped off a little bit which made it a bit harder for myself to get hold of the ball, especially with the sun in my eyes.’

After Hanson struck, the Blues were effectively forced to spend the remainder of the match defending.

It blunted their attacking impetus, with Wimbledon revelling in new-found confidence during their forays forward.

And Hawkins was replaced by Pitman in the 80th minute.

He added: ‘For a forward player, it is always tough when a team is constantly attacking you. You have to try your best when the ball gets cleared to see where it goes.

‘I did as much as I could for 80 minutes and that’s what subs are for, to come on and help out.’

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