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Hawkins has different attributes Pompey can use
Sunday, 7th Jan 2018 17:05 by pompey-fans.com staff

Joe Gallen wants Oli Hawkins to keep using his physical presence to force goals - but insists Pompey won't change their style and starting lumping it long to him at every opportunity.

Hawkins has scored three headers in the past two games - two against Northampton and one at Bristol Rovers. His first against the Cobblers was a header from the edge of the box that met a long ball from the back, while his second was a back-post header from a cross.

He then got up well from a right-sided cross to convert one against Rovers.

Assistant boss Gallen told The News they wanted to use Hawkins' strengths in a variety of ways. He told the paper: 'Oli is big enough and strong enough to bully defenders at the back post. When he first joined we were practising that quite a lot.

'To use a non-technical term, we want him “beating people up” at the far post or bullying full-backs – invariably full-backs are smaller than centre-backs.

‘We want him to be pulling on those players or when the ball is wide in the final third and we’re going to put in a cross, he’s got to be there coming in and battering centre-halves.

'But definitely the full-backs who are a bit smaller than him and a bit weaker. He did that for his second goal against Northampton. It was a pretty classic number nine goal and his first was excellent, too. To generate that much power should give him a lot of belief and confidence.

'It was a good ball from Christian (Burgess), a good longer pass – which is fine. That’s something we have worked on but not Oli heading in from that distance! However, there’s no lumping the ball up to him.

‘We’ve never said to any team to lump it up to anyone. ‘It’s always a longer pass and there’s nothing wrong with short passing and there’s nothing wrong with long passing.'

Pompey are next in League One action at home to Scunthorpe next Saturday.

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