‘Some people have maybe been a little naive... what he does is incredible’ - Lambert’s praise for Hawkins
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert believes summer signing Oli Hawkins was underestimated by many following his move from weekend opponents, Portsmouth.
The Blues picked up the target man on a free transfer this summer after his three-year spell at Fratton Park came to an end, with the 28-year-old scoring 18 goals in 96 games for the club and also netting the winning penalty in their 2019 EFL Trophy victory over Sunderland.
He’s scored once in 11 games so far for Town, securing three points against Crewe last weekend, with Lambert pleased with his signing’s start to life with the club and insisting he’s far from a battering ram despite his physical stature.
“What he does for the team is incredible,” Lambert said.
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“Hopefully the goals will come but his general hold-up play has been terrific.
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“I knew he was a handful when I saw him a few years ago but some people have maybe been a little naïve in thinking he’s only going to be good in the air because of his height. But he’s actually really good with his feet.
“I’m really happy with him.”
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Hawkins could come back into the Ipswich starting line-up for this weekend’s FA Cup clash against their fellow League One promotion-chasers, with Kayden Jackson taking over as the lone frontman for Tuesday night’s 2-1 loss at Sunderland. Young forward Tyreece Simpson could also be involved from the bench, with the 18-year-old looking to build on his two appearances and two further games as an unused substitute so far this season.
“He’s got the strength and he has the attributes with a good touch and being deceptively quick, but nobody knows with players that young whether they can step up,” Lambert said of Simpson.
“They can do it in one or two games here and there but can they do it week in, week out? That’s the big thing.
“But he’s done well.”