Carl Baker: My Pompey goal target

Pompey midfielder Carl Baker Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey midfielder Carl Baker Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin could start againsyt Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey v Plymouth: pre-match talking points

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Carl Baker is eyeing smashing the double-figure barrier as the Pompey goals continue to flow.

The attacking midfielder took his season’s tally to six on Saturday, courtesy of two late strikes against Mansfield.

Only Gary Roberts has netted more than the former MK Dons player, albeit bolstered by penalties.

Baker has registered 10 goals or more in a season on six occasions during his career, mainly while on duty in League One.

It’s an appetite Paul Cook was eager to introduce into his Blues side following a summer swoop.

And Baker is limbering up for more.

He said: ‘My target first and foremost is to get double figures, the sooner the better.

’Over my career, when I score I tend to go on little runs, so hopefully that will now be the case.

‘It was difficult recently going five games without scoring.

In other people’s eyes it’s probably not a dry patch, but for me I want to score in every match – if I don’t for two or three games I feel it.

‘However, in the position myself, Gary Roberts and Kyle Bennett play, we are always going to get chances.

‘If I get the chance to shoot I will do, definitely, but it just depends on the way the game pans out. Playing certain teams you get more chances in that area than others.

‘On Saturday, their two wingers tracked me and Kyle as much as they could. So, with their wingers tucked in and the middle of the pitch so compact, the outlet was Enda Stevens and Gareth Evans bombing on.

‘It was difficult to get shots off from distance as there were so many bodies in there, so we had to lay it off and get round them that way.

‘Then they tired and we took advantage – and, thankfully, I got the ball into areas I feel I’m at my best.

‘I’m still looking at double figures, and playing in this team and formation I would like to think I could get more.’

Baker’s best was in the 2012-13 campaign with Coventry, netting 15 in League One.

During MK Dons’ promotion season from League One in 2014-15, he struck 10 times – the most recent occasion.

And against nine-man Stags the 33-year-old demonstrated his prowess by scoring with his right foot – and then the left.

‘I am right-footed but like to strike the ball with either foot to be fair,’ added Baker.

‘I’d like to think I can cut in and get my shot off with my left foot and go on the outside and put in a shot with my right foot.

‘It makes it difficult for defenders when you can go both ways.

‘There were a few chances on Saturday I put over the bar which I was a little disappointed with, but I just rolled my sleeves up and kept going.

‘After hitting the post I was thinking it might not be my day, but you have to keep going and put the work in to reap the rewards.’