Portsmouth hitman has developed into all-round striker 

Oli Hawkins has scored five goals in six appearances. Picture: Joe Pepler
Oli Hawkins has scored five goals in six appearances. Picture: Joe Pepler
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When the Betting Room sent through the odds on Pompey’s top goalscorer this campaign, the favourite might have surprised a few people. 

Oli Hawkins is the clear one out in front of the market, priced up as a 7/4 shot

Despite Jamal Lowe currently topping the charts, Ronan Curtis earning rave reviews and Brett Pitman netting 25 times last term, the betting suggests the ex-Dagenham ace will clinch the club’s own golden boot come May.

And, in truth, it won't be a big surprise if that’s the case. 

Hawkins has significantly improved his game in the final third.

Although his remit is not just about putting the ball in the back of the net, he still has the responsibility of weighing in with his share. 

And in recent weeks he’s gone from a big target man to a well-rounded striker.

Hawkins made a superb start to the campaign, with everything, bar his finishing, impressing. 

It took him until the 10th game of the season at Peterborough for him to break his duck. 

Despite his astute hold-up play, allowing Lowe and Curtis to score and claim the headlines, some members of the Fratton faithful still thought Hawkins shouldn't have been in the starting XI.

The striker squandered several gilt-edged opportunities in previous games, bringing criticism from certain fans. 

Meanwhile, Brett Pitman – arguably the deadliest marksman in League One – was confined to the substitutes’ bench.

A role he continues to have.

Yet Hawkins’ recent form demonstrates how Jackett's decision to persevere with the former non-league ace has been the correct one. 

The boss had faith the ex-Hemel Hempstead man could dovetail his link-up play with goals – and that’s proved to be the case.

Hawkins has found his composure in the final third and rocketed up Pompey’s scoring charts to sit joint-second with Curtis and Gareth Evans on six.

He has five goals in six appearances to his name, with each of them accompanied by decent finishes.

The 26-year-old deftly steered Evans’ free-kick home in the 1-1 draw at Accrington, while he clinically headed home in the 4-0 FA Cup victory over Maidenhead.

At the start of the season, Hawkins set himself a 15-goal target in his second League One campaign.

That’s a tally he’s on track to reach having yet to hit the halfway stage of the campaign. 

Any flak that came Hawkins’ way is now nowhere to be seen. 

He’s been key for the League One table-toppers and he’s still arguably yet to peak.