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Town Closing in On Cornell and Hawkins
Friday, 14th Aug 2020 16:23

Town are closing in on signing both former Northampton keeper David Cornell and ex-Portsmouth striker Oli Hawkins, TWTD understands.

Deals with Cornell and Hawkins are both agreed in principle - as is the case with left-back Stephen Ward, who we earlier reported is close to joining the Blues - but with some loose ends relating to the moves still to be tied up.

While it’s hoped that some or all of the three signings could be announced today, due to the added complications presented by the Covid-19 situation it might be that the additions aren’t confirmed until the weekend or on Monday.

As revealed yesterday, keeper Cornell was at the club to hold talks with the Blues having been looking for a second keeper with former loanee Will Norris, who is close to completing a switch from Wolves to Burnley, having departed at the end of the season.

Cornell, 29, who it's believed will sign a two-year deal with the usual option for another season, was initially mentioned in connection with the Blues in December, again in January and more recently July with a host of other clubs said to have been monitoring his situation.

The Welshman left the Cobblers at the end of their successful League Two promotion season having rebuffed the offer of a new contract.

Born in Waunarlwydd, Cornell started his career at Swansea during which time he had spells on loan at Port Talbot, Hereford, St Mirren and Portsmouth before moving on to Oldham in the summer of July 2015 having made only one League Cup appearance for the Swans.

In June 2016 he joined Northampton and went on to make 107 starts and one sub appearance while at Sixfields, helping them to win promotion to League One via the play-offs last season.

The 6ft 2in tall keeper was reportedly close to a first Wales call-up last season having won caps at U17, U19 and U21 levels.

As well as another keeper, a big frontman has been among manager Paul Lambert’s main targets this summer and at 6ft 5in tall Hawkins certainly fits that bill.

The 28-year-old, who TWTD revealed was in talks with the Blues last night, started his career in non-league with North Greenford, Hillingdon Borough, Northwood, Hemel Hempstead Town and Harrow Borough.

The Ealing-born striker got his break in league football when Dagenham and Redbridge signed him in January 2016.

In August 2017, with the Daggers by now in the National League, Hawkins moved on to Portsmouth.

The centre forward, who has also often operated at centre-half, scored 18 goals in 71 starts and 25 sub appearances before being released by Pompey, with whom he won the EFL Trophy in 2018/19, when his contract was up this summer.

Last season he was rarely involved, and when he was often in central defence, failing to find the net in nine starts and four sub appearances.

Hawkins was previously linked with the Blues in January 2017 when he was with the Daggers with Town subsequently signing another towering striker, Kieffer Moore, from Forest Green Rovers.

On the day Moore joined the Blues, ex-Town winger Darren Currie, then the Daggers' assistant manager, gave BBC Radio Suffolk's Life's a Pitch his thoughts on the pair.

“Oliver’s very similar to Kieffer Moore, obviously I’m going to be biased and say Oliver’s better!” Currie said.

“He’s another one that for a big man is good on the floor, very mobile for a big man, he’s got goals. He’s filled in at centre-half for us once or twice and he’s looked very comfortable there as well.

“He’s a great kid to work with, very humble boy, came from Hemel Hempstead, so his roots are very good and he’s gathering interest as well because he’s been playing very well.”

Prior to the three currently ongoing deals, the recruitment of young winger Ross Crane from Bury was Town’s only business of the summer.

Photo: Action Images

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danchances22 added 16:31 - Aug 14
Great news, Three players nobody else wants.....

unknown100 added 16:35 - Aug 14
Dunno about anyone else but a 35 year old, a lad with a terrible goal record and a back up goalkeeper has filled me with so much excitement!

It’s time for our “young promising players” to step up, I say it like that because downes, bishop, Dozzell, woolfenden are all over 21 and pretty sure Norwich got promoted from the championship with Cantwell, Lewis, Aaron’s and godfrey all younger than that

Hate to big Norwich up but those lads were the stand out players in the championship and prem so if our “youngsters” need more time then they simply aren’t good enough, because they should be in league one, fingers crossed because we need a miracle

boroughblue added 16:36 - Aug 14
at least we've got our business done quickly for once.

Will reserve judgement until they play, wonder if we'll see any more deals done this summer, think this could be the only 3 players we get/need...

martin587 added 16:41 - Aug 14
If this come to fruition I will be very happy.To get it all over the line before September 12th is good business at least for our level( I’m sad to say.)But well done Town.Onwards and upwards.

mojo added 16:43 - Aug 14
Give them a chance guys. It will be good to have some players through the door. With KVY and Wolfenden being quite raw still, we need a bit of experience in the back line I think. Cornell was wanted by Northampton. I like the sound of AP but asking a lot of him to play continually in the event of a major injury to Holy. Hawkins offers us something different up front to what we have already. It cant all be bad.

Kesblue66 added 16:47 - Aug 14
Why do we 4 keepers.The other 2 are youngsters now.If they are not up to the job,what are they doing here?

blues1 added 16:56 - Aug 14
Unknown100. And what was Murphys goal record like before we signed him? And in fact, when he was here? Other than that one season his goal output was average. In fact averaged 10 per season. It's not all about goals. What murphy gave us was a presence up front. This guy will do the same. And should help us defensively attest pieces too. Again, many have wanted us to sign Murphy again for the past 3 years,(hes now 38), yet moanbxse we signing a 35cyear old international left back. And Cornell will compete for the number 1 spot. Not just simply be a back up. Danchances. Both ward and hawkins have only just been released and weve got in 1st, so who knows if anyone else may have wanted them or not? As for Cornell, weve been after him for a while, and others have shown interest, but again, weve made the 1st move. Now who knows what they're gonna be like? No1, but let's stop slagging off players before theyve even kicked a ball.

mojo added 16:56 - Aug 14
Kesblue. I would anticipate Harry Wright to be released or loaned out in the coming weeks. We wont have 3 over age keepers named in our squad following the cap restrictions.

Esseeja added 16:56 - Aug 14
I don't understand why I should feel excited or happy about this if they aren't proven. I am not willing to give them a chance because they aren't good enough for fans ambitions for promotion, I think it's a bit of a disgrace to be sinking THIS low for transfers. We aren't meant to be in a league like this.

Bluefox added 17:02 - Aug 14
unknown100 – surely one of the positives of these signings is that they do leave room for our younsgters to come through. Ward should be solid at this level for a season or so and will give time for Nydam or AN other to develop into a longer term answer at LB.
Our forward line was bullied out of so many games last season that we desperately need some muscle that Keane was unable to provide.Hopefully Hawkins can provide that – the young forwards we have are more of the Norwood/Jackson style, as i understand it (Folami/Morris/Lankester).
Regarding the keeper, I would have loved to see Wright as deputy, but I can see that it would be a high risk strategy as until he has a string of games behind him at this level, no one knows whether he is good enough – and clearly Lambert is not totally convinced about Holy.
Had we bought in players in their early/mid 20s (as per Hurst) that would have been writing off our youngsters.


herfie added 17:06 - Aug 14
Can understand how these potential signings are, on first look, underwhelming. But, as others have flagged, they represent where we find ourselves. No, it’s not nice - but we’ve got to accept and get on with it. What’s certain, however, is that PL and his team have got to the absolute max out of whoever finally signs.

I heard R Osman expressing his opinion that our players all have to up their individual and collective games - suggesting that some were less than committed in terms of hunger and effort. Perhaps; but they need to be in no doubt about the standards consistently required. That’s where managers earn their corn - and respect.

therein61 added 17:10 - Aug 14
Good to see additions i would like to think Hawkins can be an asset to the back 4 when defending free kicks and corners which have cost us goals far too often haven't they skipper!!

bringonthetractor added 17:11 - Aug 14
Good news, both decent additions to supplement the squad we've got imo (and Ward too with his experience). Finally a proper big target man option up front, we've only been waiting what, four years since Murphy left?!

therein61 added 17:13 - Aug 14
Re your comment Herfie we have two senior members of the playing squad who have not shown any effort since their mate was shown the door and have piddled over both managers since.

Bert added 17:16 - Aug 14
The disaffected on here will have to start realising that our collective ambition has to adjust to the new normal. I fully accept that for some, we would not be in League One if Evans had made better investment but we have to deal with the here and now rather than harping on about what could have been. These potential signings are hardly bottom of the barrel stuff, the GK has most certainly been coverted by other clubs, one has great Premiership experience and the other could be a very useful punt. I would love us to have a free hand to fish in a bigger and better pond but we can’t so accept this Covid influenced state of things and have a few nice thoughts for once.

Shawsey added 17:23 - Aug 14
Totally underwhelming signings, but will have to hope PL knows what he is doing for once. Another Keeper, why not. A 35 year old left back, I suppose we are desperate. A big lump up front, definitely needed. We were so soft up front last season, so fingers crossed he is the answer to that. Can't say any of them excite me, but will have to wait and see I guess.

brendenward35 added 17:30 - Aug 14
Some fans need to remember the FA have no stuck a limit on players wages so going to be difficult to get any real quality in. Saying that I remember the few games Collins played in his experience really showed and settle and organised the defence which is badly needed. Good goal keeper on a par maybe better than Holy and a striker with something to prove. Too many crossed last season went to no one as attackers were too short. We lost games to teams who bullied us so Ward and the new striker should deal with this from now on. Looking forward to seeing these guys play and hopefully shut up the doubters who already moaning and not even through the door.

Wooly74 added 17:50 - Aug 14
What makes me laugh the most is the amount of negative comments from those fans who don’t even regularly go anymore and support the team!

Oh and before you vote me down and quote that you are all unable too because of the costs involved etc etc, stop and think. Surely this is the same with the club now that it finds itself in this league and position. We can all blame Evans or past management decisions, but the reality is that's just stating the bloody obvious!

Wake up you lot, this is the position ouronce great club is in, we can't expect to attract top named players, it's going to be all about relying on a blend of youngsters and journeymen to pull together a team ethnic that will hopefully get us towards a play off position. We have no define right to finish in the top two in a league that has at least five or six ex top flight sides all claiming the same right to be in a higher league and have been there more recently.

Instead, like me for the past 40 years, get behind the club and current management set up and hope that the blend and the support will get us up there. Those that want to just slate the team, the chairman, the current management from their armchairs.... Please just do one, I'm growing tired of reading the same moaning!

Len_Brennan added 17:52 - Aug 14
There seems to be a lot of people on here over the last few days who had expectations of being excited by new signings, how? Any prospect of bringing in exciting players, that would also attract interest from the Championship, went out the door the minute the salary cap was agreed. We find in the difficult position of having to reduce ours & very substantially in the event we don't go up this season.
We could argue that the club could have done more sign players & have them on our books before last week, eg Clark-Harris or even Garbutt, but I presume their agents were holding out for Championship clubs & salaries.
In the circumstances I am prepared to acknowledge that the club have moved very quickly to (hopefully) tie up 3 decent options available within the new financial reality for 'big clubs' in League 1. They will fill 3 of the 4 positions that we absolutely had to strengthen this summer; hopefully a left footed centre half will come in shortly also.
I'm not sure about Hawkins, but he is the type of forward we have been missing, so while he's unlikely to score 20 goals a season, he should be a very good strike partner for Norwood, Sears or Jackson, each of whom should be looking to score 20 goals. Also, he should be a good option up front on his own in a 4-2-3-1 formation; it does make sense.

Crump66 added 17:56 - Aug 14
Why judge incoming players before they even played a game for us.Looks like a number of
Our senior players are going to be leaving so yes we have to do with players nobody else

Wooly74 added 18:05 - Aug 14
A very good friend and fellow season ticket holder has just reminded me that both Shefki and Alan Lee had very poor scoring records before joining Town (one goal in three) and both of them did alright for us.


TractorRoyNo1 added 18:47 - Aug 14
Burnley must be desperate

Michael101 added 19:24 - Aug 14
If these two do sign will it mean Wright or the other goalie go out on loan somewhere ,and is Jackson on his way out??

runningout added 20:05 - Aug 14
Our so called younger players have been about for a while. Time to grow up fast, bulk up, man up and forget what age they are. Be more arrogant too. If your good enough, your old enough of course:-)

Lathers added 20:48 - Aug 14
Within the limitations we have to work to, we’ve signed a good 2nd keeper, a very experienced and attacking left back and a giant up front if we need to change things up and have a plan b. And no fees involved. All in all good work from the club. I’d now like to see a decent CB arrive and if that’s then all we manage to recruit then we’ve added in the areas required. Now time for those currently at the club to step up and with Lankester, KVY and Nydam coming back we also have another 3 great options available.

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