Pompey set sights on striker

Dagenham & Redbridge striker Oliver Hawkins Picture: Guy Wills
Dagenham & Redbridge striker Oliver Hawkins Picture: Guy Wills
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Pompey striker Conor Chaplin Picture: Mark Robinson

Jackett’s Juniors all set to go again

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OLIVER HAWKINS has moved to the top of Kenny Jackett’s shopping list.

The Pompey boss has made the Dagenham & Redbridge hitman his attacking priority as he continues reshaping his squad.

But the Blues still face a battle to land the 25-year-old, with any deal a long way from being completed.

Hawkins is regarded as one of the brightest talents outside of the Football League, after bagging 19 goals for the Daggers last season.

The 6ft 2in striker has attracted interest from a host of clubs in recent months.

Ipswich, Nottingham Forest and Rotherham have been among his suitors, with Brighton also previously running the rule over Hawkins.

But Jackett remains hopeful of being able to lure the striker to Fratton Park, where his prospect of playing time would look brighter.

The Londoner has operated largely in non-league football in his career to date with spells at the likes of Hemel Hempstead and Northwood.

He failed to find the back of the net regularly in a struggling Daggers side in the 2015-16 season.

Hawkins bagged just a single goal from 18 appearances, joining midway through a difficult campaign as his side were relegated from League Two.

Jackett has kept tabs, though, on the man who made a big impression last term as his side finished fourth in the National League.

The Pompey boss fancies being able to mould the striker into the kind of talent who could make a big impact at a higher level.

Hawkins has a year remaining of the two-and-a-half-year agreement he signed for the his side as the start of 2016.

Despite moving into the final 12 months of his deal, the Daggers are still confident of recouping a substantial fee for the striker in the wake of the amount of interest being shown in him.

The Blues currently have four strikers on their books in the shape of Conor Chaplin, Curtis Main, Nicke Kabamba and Michael Smith.

Kabamba and Main both got 45 minutes under their belts in the pre-season win over Salisbury on Saturday, with Chaplin and Smith sitting out the pre-season opener.

Nathan Thompson remains Pompey’s only piece of transfer business to date under Jackett.

The defender arrived on a two-year deal after his contract came to a close at Swindon.

A goalkeeper, left-back and holding midfielder remain transfer priorities ahead of the new season for the Blues.

Pompey are keen on goalkeeper Christian Walton, who will leave Brighton on loan next season.

Walton was at the club’s Roko base for discussions last week.

The 21-year-old is also attracting interest from Wigan and Peterborough, however, with talks still ongoing.