Pompey striker hopes to inflict more Plymouth pain

Neil Sillett's former column in the Sports Mail

The forgotten day when Ali Dia played for Pompey

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OLI HAWKINS is hoping his side can inflict more pain on Plymouth.

The Pompey striker believes his team can deliver a repeat of the winning feeling he savoured on his last trip to Home Park.

Oli Hawkins. Picture: Joe Pepler/PinPep

Oli Hawkins. Picture: Joe Pepler/PinPep

Hawkins was part of the Dagenham & Redbridge side who stunned Derek Adams’ troops at the end of the 2015-16 season and put a huge dent in their League Two automatic promotion hopes.

The Daggers had already been relegated to the National League, but picked up a shock 3-2 success.

Hawkins left the bench for his sixth appearance in league football after making the move from Hemel Hempstead. The 26-year-old’s memories of that occasion are still vivid.

Hawkins said: ‘We played a big part in stopping them getting promoted.

‘We won the game 3-2. We went 2-0 up really early and 3-0 up before half-time.

‘It was only a few games after I’d moved from non-league football. I was not up to scratch then.

‘I remember coming on and I couldn’t breathe the game was so quick! I was on for a few minutes but I felt like I was going to die!

‘They were just on us because they really needed a win to get promoted.

‘I remember it so clearly. I came on up front on my own and we were defending.

‘So I was just running from defender to defender and blowing – I couldn’t breathe!

‘They needed the win but didn’t get it. We interrupted it for them and they lost in the play-off final.’

Hawkins is likely to be on the bench again this weekend, after helping Pompey to a 1-0 success over Plymouth in November. He noted the Pilgrims’ progress since the loss, but stated his side go into the game with belief.

Hawkins added: ‘We’re in a good run of form and it’s going to be interesting.

‘We hope and believe we can be too strong for them.

‘I don’t feel any of the players are going to be nervous or have any fear.

‘We are going to go out there like it’s a normal game.

‘I’m sure the boys will come good and get a result.

‘Since we’ve played them at home they’ve done really well. When we played them that day they were really struggling. Since that game it seems like they’ve been on a massive run. Look at them now – they’re fighting for the play-offs like us.

‘The belief is there with all the boys, though. We’ve got five games to go and I think the boys know if they fight it could work out for us.’

– JORDAN CROSS