No excuses from head-strong Pompey striker

Oli Hawkins picked up head injuries in his first two Pompey appearances  Picture: Joe Pepler
Oli Hawkins picked up head injuries in his first two Pompey appearances Picture: Joe Pepler
Bradley Lethbridge. Picture: Colin Farmery

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For Oli Hawkins, there is no scrambling around for a conveniently-placed crutch.

The opportunity to open his Pompey goal account at Scunthorpe was agonisingly spurned.

It would have got us back in the game at 1-1 and might then have been a different match. I can only hold my hands up and say the next one I will score

Oli Hawkins

Yet he is adamant a recent flurry of head injuries had no relevance – both physically or mentally.

‘The first week after my injury at AFC Wimbledon I have been a bit cautious because there’s a lump where the bang is and, occasionally when I head it, it hurts a bit,’ said Hawkins.

‘But I don’t worry too much about it.

‘I would love to make an excuse for missing that chance on Saturday and say “Yes, it was because of my cut!”. It wasn’t, though!

‘It was an unbelievable ball from Jams (Jamal Lowe) and any other day, or nine times out of 10, I score that, that is my bread and butter.

‘At Dagenham I scored a lot of goals at the far post – but on Saturday I either took my eyes off the ball or misjudged it.

‘It would have got us back in the game at 1-1 and might then have been a different match. I can only hold my hands up and say the next one I will score.

‘As long as the chances are being created and I am getting in there, then I am going to score goals. I have the confidence in myself to believe that I will.

‘Heading is my main strength because of my height. I like being at the back post and the right side of the centre-half.

‘It’s where I enjoy most of my games, winning headers and trying to create chances for other people.

‘The more I work at it with the team in training, the more I will benefit from it in matches.’

It has now been 18 days since a sickening clash of heads with Wimbledon’s Callum Kennedy.

Hawkins required seven stitches in a head wound – while left-back Kennedy was stretchered off and has not played since.

For Pompey’s deadline-day acquisition from Dagenham & Redbridge, it represented a facial injury for the second successive match.

The previous weekend he took a kick to the head on his debut against Rotherham, with it being glued together.

The 25-year-old had never previously drawn blood from his head until moving to Pompey – but that swiftly changed.

He added: ‘I had never bled out before coming here!

‘I’ve always had head injuries because of the way I play, little bumps here and there, but never actual head collisions where I have had to come off or it is cut.

‘Then in my first two games it unfortunately happened.

‘I come from a league where I was constantly getting elbows and bangs to the head. I’d joke with previous team-mates that my head is like a rock.

‘When watching a game on TV I was often thinking “They’re bleeding out, but I never bleed”. Then the first two games that happens!

‘The first instance was a cut, it was not stitched but glued together. The second was a deeper cut.

‘I have just been unlucky in the first few games. Now it has cleared up I can concentrate on not heading the back of people’s heads and not getting kicked in the head – and focusing on football.’