Portsmouth boss: In-form Oli proving he’s League One standard

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Oli Hawkins is beginning to establish himself as a League One-quality striker.

That is the verdict of Kenny Jackett, after the 26-year-old netted in his third-successive match.

Oli Hawkins was a handful for Accrington on Saturday. Picture: Joe Pepler

Oli Hawkins was a handful for Accrington on Saturday. Picture: Joe Pepler

Hawkins steered home Gareth Evans’ left-wing free-kick to break the deadlock in Saturday’s visit to Accrington.

That advantage lasted just two minutes as John Coleman’s men struck back immediately through central defender Michael Ihiekwe for a 1-1 draw.

Nonetheless, Hawkins has now scored four goals this season, drawing himself level with Brett Pitman.

And according to Jackett, the former non-league man is providing increasing proof that he can perform at this standard.

Pompey’s boss said: ‘Another goal is good for him – it was a very good first touch from the free-kick to put us ahead.

‘Oli has to keep working hard and, in terms of a being good centre-forward at that level, I do think he's well on the way of doing that.

‘We are happy with the situation in terms of Brett and Oli, I have said all along there will be times when we need both of them.

‘We hope it is working as effective competition and for us to get the most out of our centre-forwards we will always need to give them service.’

Hawkins’ three goals have arrived during an eight-day spell.

The ex-Dagenham & Redbridge man registered the matchwinner against Fleetwood a week last Saturday.

He then opened the scoring against Burton in midweek, before he was replaced by Pitman after rolling his ankle in the 2-2 draw.

Now Hawkins has netted at Accrington, taking his season’s tally to four in 16 League One outings.