Oli Hawkins’ timely Checkatrade Trophy final reminder for Portsmouth boss ahead of Sunderland clash
Oli Hawkins delivered a Wembley nudge following a timely reminder at Shrewsbury.
The striker had Kenny Jackett singing his praises following an impressive New Meadow impact as a second-half substitute.
Following Omar Bogle’s ineffective display, Hawkins was introduced from the bench in the 55th minute of Saturday’s encounter.
The 26-year-old responded by striking the bar, forcing keeper Steve Arnold into an excellent save and then assisting Brett Pitman for the Blues’ second.
When available, Bogle has taken Hawkins’ first-team spot since a January loan switch from Cardiff.
But the Dagenham & Redbridge recruit demonstrated his worth in the 2-0 success – with the Checkatrade Trophy final approaching.
Jackett said: 'Oli played really well and it was his type of day, where previously we couldn't get out for too long and it was difficult to get up the pitch. Maybe a frustrating one for Omar.
'Oli's a different type of player and I am pleased for him. It was an excellent reverse ball for the second goal to put Pitman in, and he was unlucky not to score at the far post for his header down when the keeper made a good save.
'There was also one from Lee Brown’s cross from the left where he hit the bar. I wasn't sure whether that was him or the defender, but the referee gave a goal kick anyway.
'In his general play and play in the box, he gave us a lot.
'There have been times when it hasn't been Oli's day either and you're looking for a different type of player.
‘With the likes of Bogle and Vaughan now, we have options and those options helped us win on Saturday.’
With the scoreline goalless, Jackett had switched to a 4-3-3 on around 25 minutes to transform Pompey’s fortunes.
It proved to be a crucial decision, subsequently Ben Close and then Pitman netting in a third-straight league win for the Blues.
Jackett added: 'It was one-way traffic before the tactical change, we couldn’t get out.
‘They were giving us problems, having shots, and our keeper was very busy and did very, very well. I don't think we had a shot in that period, we didn't look a threat at all.
'Once we changed, we came into the game, looking far more solid. We negated them, but had plenty of chances from that point on.’