Hawkins gives Pompey boss much to ponder

Pompey striker Oli Hawkins. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey striker Oli Hawkins. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Kenny Jackett admitted his makeshift defender has given him food for thought at the back.

Oli Hawkins has excelled in an unaccustomed defensive role for Pompey before the MK Dons clash.

And that versatility has proved useful for Jackett as he went into the back four following a string of injuries.

Nathan Thompson’s concussion led to the 25-year-old dropping back in the second half against Oldham.

That was followed with a decent effort against Crawley in the Checkatrade Trophy, before helping his side to a clean sheet at Gillingham last Sunday.

And Jackett would have no problem using Hawkins in that role again.

He said: ‘Hawkins has got us out of a hole defensively, really.

‘I thought he did pretty well there against Oldham.

‘I felt by the end of that game they deserved to win, but we made the game closer.

‘We got a goal back and in the end got beat pushing them.

‘At one stage it didn’t look like it was going to be close.

‘In the Checkatrade Trophy he looked good.

‘Okay it was Crawley and they changed their team.

‘But it was still a good performance from him and Clarke together.

‘And that was followed through with a win in the league at Gillingham.

‘Him playing centre-back with Thompson one side and Clarke the other does gives you a bit of a chance to do well.’

Jackett was heartened by how Hawkins dealt with the aerial threat posed by Gillingham.

His 6ft 5in frame was a big reason the Pompey boss used him there – a move which was justified.

Jackett added: ‘The other thing is it was a physical game, but the ball seemed to keep landing on his head.

‘Then there were long throws in extra-time he dealt with.

‘So, from that point of view, he did a good job for us. Him going back there has helped us really.’