Jackett outlines Pompey striker’s future role

Oli Hawkins. Picture: Joe Pepler
Oli Hawkins. Picture: Joe Pepler
Former Burton Albion midfielder Tom Naylor

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Oli Hawkins’ Pompey future lies in attack.

And Kenny Jackett has outlined the need to add some pace to dovetail with the striker’s height and physical presence up front.

The Blues boss has underlined he sees Hawkins leading the line for his team moving forward.

Hawkins signed for Pompey as a striker when moving from non-league Dagenham & Redbridge in August.

But the 25-year-old has been utilised as a makeshift defender in his time at the club – where he’s increasingly caught the eye.

Hawkins has started the past two games up front, however, where he has bagged three goals.

Despite his useful versatility, Jackett sees him playing there in the long term.

He said: ‘We’d like to keep working with him as a centre-forward. There’s no doubt about that.

‘At the moment, we don’t have a lot of defenders and, at different times of the season. we’ve had to play him at the back. He’s very capable of that.

‘We brought him in as a forward and he’s played as a forward in the past two games and scored three goals. That’s terrific.

‘We’re in a situation where, if we get injuries at the back, we know he’s very capable.

‘But, in an ideal world, he’s just coming out of non-league, he’s scored a few goals and we’d like to keep him as a number nine.’

Jackett has made two January transfer recruits in Sylvain Deslandes and Connor Rohan, but would like to add some attacking speed up front moving forward.

He said: ‘I do think somewhere along the line we need more pace around Oli. That’s going to be very important to complement him.’