Hawkins stirs Pompey memories of England man

Pompey striker Oli Hawkins has been operating as a makeshift centre-back. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey striker Oli Hawkins has been operating as a makeshift centre-back. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Whatever you think of our manager, he’s shown he’s not scared to make tough decisions.

And the one which saw him decide to use Oli Hawkins as a makeshift central defender against Gillingham emphatically paid off.

It’s a compliment to Oli’s performance that if he kept that up, he’d probably end up being seen more as a defender than a forward. We could end up with a Steve Foster type of conundrum coming up again!

Oli headed balls and looked pretty solid as part of the back four to me. He didn’t look out of place one little bit.

Even with the possible penalty, it wasn’t the kind of challenge any centre-half wouldn’t make anyway. It wasn’t a glaring mistake.

Kenny obviously did his homework on the situation and knew Oli was capable of filling in and giving the performance he did.

The pressure is now on Christian Burgess if he returns this weekend. His place is under threat!

Seriously, though, it’s a handy string to Oli’s bow and we’ve seen there are situations which pop up when that will be useful.

It may help Kenny, for example, when he’s deciding over which players to have on the bench. Oli, whether’s he’s in the first XI or sub, can cover both areas.

As I say, there’s shades of Fossie about the whole scenario. Steve was a little bit younger than Oli when the switch came about, though.

I’d only just come to the club and I don’t think he was the best of strikers, but it was a move which changed his career.

Another one like that which doesn’t get mentioned as much is Graham Roberts.

Robbo was in the youth team with me as a centre-forward. He got released by Pompey and went to Dorchester and Weymouth.

But he went on to have a fantastic career with Tottenham, Rangers and England after converting into a defender.

There was a lot of disappointment after the Oldham game. All you can do after a game like that is deliver in the next game.

In terms of the league, that was Gillingham and I feel Pompey answered a few questions of them.

That’s from Oli Hawkins to Matty Kennedy, Curtis Main and Nathan Thompson.

Everyone played their part in a workmanlike but deserved victory and the challenge now is to build on that in some testing games coming up.