Portsmouth striker has no qualms over being substitutedÂ

Not even a man-of-the-match performance could prevent Oli Hawkins from exiting the Fratton turf on 67 minutes.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 9th September 2018, 2:46 pm
Updated Sunday, 9th September 2018, 3:57 pm
Oli Hawkins delivered an impressive performance against Shrewsbury. Picture: Joe Pepler
Oli Hawkins delivered an impressive performance against Shrewsbury. Picture: Joe Pepler

But the towering striker had no qualms about making way '“ especially for a substitute the calibre of Brett Pitman.

Hawkins was one of the few bright spots for the Blues during a lacklustre draw with struggling Shrewsbury.

His willingness to work in the lone striker role, coupled with ability to hold the ball up and bring others into play, was appreciated by the Fratton faithful.

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Oli Hawkins delivered an impressive performance against Shrewsbury. Picture: Joe Pepler

When withdrawn during the second half for Pitman, supporters made their appreciation known.

Subsequently, the substitute arrival snatched a 1-1 draw three minutes from time when he dispatched a penalty.

Certainly justification for the switch, irrespective of Hawkins' impressive showing.

And the former Dagenham & Redbridge man insists he bears no frustration over his removal.

Hawkins said: '˜It's the manager's choice and if he feels like he has to change then so be it.

'˜When you have someone like Brett Pitman to come on, who is always going to score you goals, it's a good sub and that's why you need a big squad.

'˜At the moment I am obviously playing and trying to do as well as I can, attempting to get results, and when you have people like him to come on you don't want to sulk.

'˜You are thinking 'I hope he scores, I hope he gets us a result' '“ and he got us a draw.

'˜It's like for like sometimes, you see a centre-forward warming up and you think you're probably going to get replaced.

'˜I would have liked to have stayed on longer to try to do as much as I can to get us the win, but I'm happy that Pits came on and scored.

'˜That just goes to show how good our squad is.'

Hawkins was forced off after 42 minutes in the previous weekend's Fratton fixture against Plymouth.

His back and hamstring problem subsequently sidelined the striker from the midweek Checkatrade Trophy victory over Gillingham.

Yet the 26-year-old returned to training on Thursday to put himself back in the frame for a starting spot against the Shrews.

 Saturday represented his sixth-successive league start, with Pitman coming off the bench to replace him in each of the last four.

Still, the draw against John Askey's side maintains Kenny Jackett's side's unbeaten start to the campaign '“ and keeps them in second spot.

Hawkins added: '˜It was definitely a good draw, especially when you are 1-0 down.

'˜Obviously you look to win the game and get the three points, but considering the way we've been playing and the way our team is unbeaten, we would be disappointed with that.

'˜However, after looking at defeat, we are happy with a point.

'˜We always have a saying when it is 0-0 at half-time that going towards our fans in the second half we should always be on top.

'˜Attacking the Fratton end we should look to win, with the fans behind us, that is drummed into us at half-time. Unfortunately we couldn't get the win  on Saturday, but got the draw.'