Hartlepool United have the quality to beat Portsmouth

Lewwis Hawkins.
Lewwis Hawkins.
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Lewis Hawkins says Hartlepool United were pleased with the point they took off Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

Now the midfielder insists that instead of “nicking” a draw they now target the full three points against the automatic promotion contenders.

It’s going to be a tough game tomorrow, but League Two is a funny division

LEWIS HAWKINS

Pompey will start as favourites at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium given the 18-place and 27-point advantage they have over Pools.

But Hawkins will not accept defeat and says Pools have the quality to trouble Paul Cook’s side.

The stats back him up – in 12 matches against the current top seven, Pools have lost only five, taking 13 points, not a bad return for a club at the wrong end of the table.

Last weekend, Pools produced a good display at Blackpool, only to be undone by a late fluke from home sub, Kyle Vassell.

“The football has been good but we’ve created the problems for ourselves by maybe trying to play in the wrong areas sometimes,” said Hawkins. “But we can play and I think we’ve shown we can perform better against he best teams.

“At Blackpool we played well for most of the game and I don’t think we deserved to lose.

“It’s going to be a tough game tomorrow, but League Two is a funny division.

“We’ve played Plymouth twice and there’s been nothing in it – and they look like getting automatic promotion.

“There can be very little between top and bottom, if you perform on the day then there is a chance

“We know Portsmouth like to play and they have gifted players on the ball.

“They have a bit of a target man too so they can get it forward when they want to

“We’ve taken a point from them already – the first half we were in the game at their place, but the second half they made it really tough.

“It was a very good result on the day – hopefully instead of nicking a point we can nick a win at home.”

Pools will need to put a muzzle on a familiar face if they are to collect any points tomorrow.

Kal Naismith, who will be in Pompey’s starting line-up, spent a two-month stint on loan at the Vic last season.

Due to a run of cup ties, a trip to his parent club and a succession of postponed matches, the Scot with the cultured left foot, only played four times.

Hawkins was on loan at Spennymoor at the time but trained with the gifted 25-year-old and knows the threat he possesses.

“I’ve watched him on the TV highlights this season and seen he’s got a goal or two,” said the 23-year-old. “He’s playing really well at the minute

“Hopefully we can stop him and have a good go at them.”

Aside from the thrill of getting a win over one of the best sides in the fourth tier, Hawkins explains there is the urgent matter of trying to get enough points on the board to seal Football League safety.

Pools currently have an eight-point buffer over Newport.

“The teams below us seem to be losing week after week but we need a win just to pull away from them,” said Hawkins. “We’ve got to concentrate on ourselves, do what we’ve got to do.

“If we a get a win or two and they keep losing then we’ll get further away from them bottom two.

“We want to get comfortable, then we can start to look forward to next season and try to have a better year.