Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett encouraged by forward partnership he previously had doubts over

Brett Pitman and Oli Hawkins’ recent forward partnership has impressed Kenny Jackett.

Wednesday, 10th April 2019, 6:30 am

Despite previously doubting if the pair could operate together, the Pompey boss been encouraged by how they’ve combined in recent weeks.

Pitman has been in fine form since his re-emergence in the No10 role, scoring four goals in the past five games.

That meant Hawkins had to settle for a place on the substitutes’ bench for a period, with the captain operating behind striker Omar Bogle against Walsall, Shrewsbury, Scunthorpe and in the Checkatrade Trophy final.

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Brett Pitman, left, and Oli Hawkins have impressed as a forward partnership in recent games. Picture: Joe Pepler

Nevertheless, the former Dagenham hitman twice made an impact when replacing the Cardiff loanee.

Pitman and Hawkins exchanged to double the visitors’ lead at the Shrews, while the latter’s cameo at Wembley was pivotal to Pompey claiming the silverware against Sunderland.

That resulted in Jackett opting to start the pair together at Wycombe on Saturday – the first time since the trip to MK Dons in February 2018.

And his decision yielded a 3-2 victory, with Pitman firing a double.

The Blues manager previously felt the combination meant his side suffered from a lack of pace and mobility in the final third.

But recent performances have shifted his mindset.

Asked if his perception of the duo playing together has changed, Jackett said: ‘It has and it’s worked well in the past few games, so we’ll see.

‘Brett has come back into the team and we’ve won all of those games – that helps.

‘I do think that Hawkins at Shrewsbury and at Wembley has responded in the right way when he’s been called upon and played well.

‘He obviously scored the winning penalty and it would do him the world of good.

‘The goal at Shrewsbury was a very good one with the cut back, late run and a good finish from Brett.

‘It’s just something in the last few games that has been pretty good and nice to see.’