Pompey’s attacking desire aids Chaplin and Roberts

Gary Roberts, left, and Conor Chaplin Picture: Joe Pepler
Gary Roberts, left, and Conor Chaplin Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin, left, and Oli Hawkins, right, are two options to replace the injured Brett Pitman against Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey fans debate who should replace injured Pitman against Plymouth

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PAUL COOK saluted Pompey’s promising attacking partnership.

The Blues boss was encouraged by what he saw from Conor Chaplin and Gary Roberts as they started a game together for the first time against Barnet.

But Cook highlighted the need for his side’s attacking players to show their desire to get in the box as they go to Blackpool.

Chaplin was handed his maiden start of the campaign and grabbed a goal in the 5-1 weekend win.

It was Roberts who really shone, with his all-round display seeing him earn man-of-the-match plaudits.

Cook felt the partnership profited from Pompey increasing their passing tempo going forward.

He said: ‘Conor and Gary have always linked up well.

‘They’ve always played well together, without a shadow of a doubt.

‘But you watch the clips of Saturday, it’s quicker movement and passing.

‘It’s people being in the right areas of the pitch.

‘When it works for us, like it is at the minute at home, we look a very good side.

‘Unfortunately, we haven’t looked a very good side away – but that’s something we’re looking at.’

Saturday’s success saw the Blues respond impressively to defeat at Accrington.

Michael Smith led the line at the Crown Ground in his first appearance since the middle of August.

Cook felt the lack of support the striker was given hindered him in the 1-0 defeat, as much as the desire of Pompey’s attacking players to support and get beyond Chaplin helped him shine on Saturday.

Cook said: ‘Bennett, Roberts and Baker struggled to run beyond Smith at Accrington. It makes Michael not look a good player.

‘If you play with a Kal Naismith and Gareth Evans either side with a Gary Roberts behind him, all of a sudden you are stronger.

‘The players are good. Kyle Bennett is a top player. Michael Smith, at this level, is as good as it gets. We’re dead happy with our squad.

‘We don’t want fans singling out players.

‘We never won Saturday because Michael Smith and Kyle Bennett never played. Come on.

‘Kyle played in our great start last season. Michael Smith played when we were beating Bristol Rovers and Cambridge on that run last season.

‘It’s all about balance. Everyone needs players around them to make them look good.’

– JORDAN CROSS