This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
If a poor start to the League One season, plus a Carabao Cup exit at the hands of their arch south coast rivals was not enough, Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett is facing up to the loss of 27-year-old Oli Hawkins for up to six weeks, following an injury picked up in the Saints clash, as reported in the Portsmouth News.
Jackett has been utilising striker Hawkins at centre-back in recent weeks and his loss will come as a blow to Pompey as they look to string some results together, to allow them to move up from the 20th spot they currently find themselves.
So how big a blow will the loss of Hawkins be to Pompey?
“Yes, I think it will be a setback for them and one that could contribute further to Jackett’s demise.
“Hawkins has actually been quite impressive as a centre-back in recent games, particularly in the League One game against Wycombe.
“The scoreline wasn’t pretty against Southampton but I don’t think you can lay the blame for that at the backline’s door.
“With Jackett already under pressure, depleted resources is the last thing he needs–you have to wonder how much longer he will have the job.”
“This is a big blow for Pompey as centre back has been a problem area for the team ever since they sold Matt Clarke to Brighton.
“With the pressure ramped up on Jackett, the ex-Millwall boss will surely be looking to maintain a consistent back four in one of the key areas of his team.
“Paul Downing provides an able deputy for Hawkins, so it will be interesting to see how he fares when he gets granted a chance to start.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if Jackett looked to strengthen that area come January, as it is one of the weakest areas of the team, however it remains to be seen whether he will still be at Fratton Park by then!”
“It’s the last thing Jackett will have needed.
“At both ends of the pitch really. For one, his defence has been far from convincing so losing one of his first-choice options will do him no good at all.
“But also in attack. Marquis has struggled to deal with his direct style of play at times so having the option to reinstate Hawkins in attack could have been very useful.
“He cannot dwell on the set-back, however. Failure to win against Bolton on Saturday and I think we could be saying bye bye to Jackett.”