Pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo
PORTSMOUTH have put in a bid for Dagenham & Redbridge danger man Oliver Hawkins.
The Daggers forward scored 18 goals in the National League last season as the club missed out on an instant return to League Two.
Brighton & Hove Albion were close to signing the 25-year-old in January after a blistering first half of the season but interest cooled with the club nearing the Premier League.
Now The NLP understands League One newcomers Portsmouth are in for the powerful striker, who has worked his way through the ranks of Non-League football.
Hawkins started his career as a teenager at North Greenford United before local moves to Hillingdon Borough and Northwood.
He soon stepped up to the National League South with Hemel Hempstead Town before getting his chance in the Football League with Dagenham in January 2016.
After an impressive season back in Non-League, he looks set to return to the EFL and Pompey’s offer is said to be under consideration.
A source said: “Hawkins’ form in front of goal was a real plus and his performances kept Dagenham in the play-off places all of last season. He’s tall, strong, holds the ball up well and knows where the net is. Dagenham’s financial position isn’t as precarious as it was last season but they will do well to keep him.
“Portsmouth aren’t the only club who want him, and there are a number of League clubs looking to make him their player.”
Pompey have a recent history of signing Non-League players. Last January they moved for Hampton & Richmond Borough duo Jamal Lowe and Nicke Kabamba, who both also used to play for Dean Brennan’s Hemel Hempstead.
Daggers have meanwhile confirmed they will have a new assistant manager next season. John Still has announced Junior Lewis has accepted an offer to swap Boreham Wood for Victoria Road.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge and know a lot of the players at the club,” Lewis said. “There’s an exciting squad here looking to go one stage further next season.”