Hawkins: No rivalry in battle to lead from front at Portsmouth

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Oli Hawkins admitted there has never been any rivalry between himself and fellow front man Brett Pitman.

The pair have battled it out for the  lone striker role in Kenny Jackett's side since the former Dagenham & Redbridge attacker arrived at Fratton Park in August 2017.

Oli Hawkins. Picture: Joe Pepler

Oli Hawkins. Picture: Joe Pepler

But Hawkins revealed that has not had an impact on the duo’s relationship. 

Experienced striker Pitman, 30,  was Jackett's preferred option to lead the Blues line last term as he netted 25 goals in all competitions.  

However,  it's been a different story this season, with Hawkins getting the nod ahead of his team-mate  for the most part.  

And the 26-year-old has repaid Jackett's faith, moving level at the top of Pompey's scoring chart with  seven goals.  

Brett Pitman. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South.

Brett Pitman. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South.

 Hawkins, who spent most of his career in non-league football  before arriving at Fratton Park, has admitted he’s  studied Pitman’s game to learn as much as he can from the former Bournemouth ace.   

Although admitting the pair are different types of strikers, he feels that ploy has helped him become a regular starter. 

Hawkins said: ‘There’s no rivalry between us.

'I’ve got along with Brett from the first day I got here. 

'We’re very close and he has helped me throughout the whole of the time I’ve been here.

'It’s more me watching him as opposed to asking him questions. 

'I think we are completely different players.

'But it does help when you’ve had someone who has been there and been around.

'You know what he can do.

'A lot of what I’m doing this season has come from watching him last season.

'I’m not trying to replicate his game, but I’m trying to fit in the way that he did last year with the team.

'We played one up front last year a lot of times and he was the one up front.

'I think the main part of it is training each and every day and just replicating what other people have done in games.

'I watched Brett last year and he was brilliant really.

'He was scoring loads of goals and done really well for the team.

'Last year for me, I was thinking to myself whether I could do that this season for the team - could I be the main striker?’

But Hawkins is not taking his place in the team for granted.

The striker knows the competition within the squad in his position is high.

And he’s fully aware a drop in performance level would result in him dropping out. 

'At the moment I’m starting and doing well,' Hawkins added.

‘There’s competition with Brett and other people. 

‘When you’re in training you want to do as well as you can to get in the team.

‘It helps the squad win promotion when you have so many fighting for positions.

‘It keeps everyone on their top game. 

‘For me, if I thought there was nobody behind I might slack off and not try as hard.

‘But because I’ve got a goal machine sitting on the bench, I know I have to do my best every week and play as well as I can. 

‘I think if you asked the other strikers, they’d be happy that I’m doing well and the team is doing well.’  

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