Lowe backs old acquaintance to be Pompey hit

Oliver Hawkins. Picture: Joe Pepler
Oliver Hawkins. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Jamal Lowe has tipped old pal Oliver Hawkins to be a hit at Pompey.

The former Hampton & Richmond player believes the striker can fire on all cylinders in League One after securing a move from National League outfit Dagenham & Redbridge on deadline day.

Jamal Lowe, background, watches Oliver Hawkins on his Pompey debut. Picture: Joe Pepler

Jamal Lowe, background, watches Oliver Hawkins on his Pompey debut. Picture: Joe Pepler

Lowe was well aware of Hawkins’ talent when the Blues were first linked to him at the start of July.

The duo represented Hemel Hempstead during the 2014-15 season.

That was in National League South – now the pair find themselves reunited three divisions higher after both securing Football League moves to Pompey.

Lowe revealed he was in contact with Hawkins during the summer when Kenny Jackett was in talks with Dagenham.

And he believes the goalscorer has improved significantly since they were part of the same side.

Lowe said: ‘I saw him being linked with us so I asked him if he was coming down.

‘He wasn’t sure at the time as a few clubs were after him and then nothing happened for a while and it didn’t quite go through.

‘I saw something else online saying “Hawkins moving to Portsmouth”.

‘Then I came to training on deadline day and he was there.

‘It was a nice surprise to see him and he brings something different.

‘I’ve seen his improvement since that time, 100 per cent.

‘When I was at Hemel, I used to call him a head on a stick!

‘That’s maybe a bit harsh but he has improved massively.’

Hawkins was one of the National League’s most highly-regarded players last season.

He netted 18 goals for the Daggers and helped the Victoria Road outfit finish fourth in the table.

The 25-year-old had been linked to Ipswich Town, Nottingham Forest and Peterborough before his move to Pompey.

Lowe has identified Hawkins’ natural strength as one of his best qualities – comparing him to Adebayo Akinfenwa.

‘When he is at his best, he is unplayable for defenders,’ he said.

‘He reminds me Akinfenwa!

‘He is hard to play against because of his strength.

‘Hawks has got that strength about him – as well as the height and the power he possesses to go and win headers against defenders.

‘He’s got natural strength in him and uses his body well by getting into the right positions.’

Although Hawkins towers at 6ft 4in, Lowe believes his team-mate is more than just target man.

Lowe added: ‘You can see from the goals he scored at Dagenham he is good on the ball and uses his feet.

‘Hawks is definitely a threat inside the box and a natural goalscorer.

‘I haven’t given him any advice but we’ve had a few chats about how to adapt.

‘The more games he plays the more you see of him come out of his shell.

‘He is a natural goalscorer when he gets an opportunity.’