Chaplin's display sends message to Pompey boss

First-team players joined Pompey's emerging talents in the Premier League Cup meeting with Leicester on Monday.

Tuesday, 14th November 2017, 6:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 8:29 am

The 0-0 draw against the Premier League outfit proved a useful workout for the Blues. Here, sports writer, Will Rooney looks at what we learnt from the game.

Captain Chaplin fires a message

Pompey’s have their cleanest bill of health since Kenny Jackett arrived as boss.

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As a result, competition for places is as fierce as ever - which means impressing when given the opportunity is crucial.

The Blues boss travelled to Leicester to scrutinise those who have not had the minutes they’ve desired this season.

It was an impressive performance from the reserves and Conor Chaplin was the star of the show.

Only a goal was missing from what was an otherwise sterling effort from the academy product.

Chaplin donned the captain’s armband against the Foxes and he led by example.

The diminutive attacker was Pompey’s tormentor in chief who terrorised the Foxes back four from the first to final whistle.

Chaplin forced three good saves from Max Bramley in the first half, before he crashed a free-kick against the bar after the restart.

On another night, he might well have returned to the south coast with the match ball.

Jackett’s squad is most saturated in the final third of the pitch, and Chaplin has clearly noticed the bar has been raised to start in League One.

The Worthing talent took the chance to send a message to his manager he’s capable of becoming a regular in his starting line-up.

Academy boxing clever

Pompey’s academy continues to punch well above its weight.

Despite being a Category Three set-up, they yet again went hammer and tongs with a Category One club.

The game may have ended a 0-0 draw, but the Blues would have won the bout by unanimous decision on the scorecards.

Of the starting line-up, eight had graduated from, or are in the academy.

Brandon Haunstrup, Adam May and Theo Widdrington all caught the eye, while Jez Bedford came so close to giving the Blues the lead when he flicked the bar from 20 yards on five minutes.

Second-year scholar Matt Casey would have learnt a lot from playing next to Drew Talbot in the middle of defence and really grew into the game.

Meanwhile, Bradley Lethbridge and Dan Smith both made an impact after they came off the bench - the latter missing a golden chance in stoppage time.

It’s a system Mark Kelly and soon-to-exit Mikey Harris can be proud of - and one that will undoubtedly continue to produce talent.

Henley makes a splash

Kenny Jackett hasn’t been afraid to run the rule over free agents since he was appointed manager.

The likes of Mohamed Maouche, Thomas Juel-Neilsen and Ceykan Karagozlu have all had the chance to impress.

Adam Henley became the latest player without a club to attempt to win a Fratton Park contract.

The former Blackburn man has a strong footballing pedigree and it’s a surprise he’s without a club, being a Wales international.

Given the length of time he hasn’t played a competitive game for, he performed solidly at right-back before moving into centre midfield.

Gary Bowyer was keen to sign Henley at Blackpool after the 23-year-old left Ewood Park.

That did not amount to anything - seemingly because of the player’s wage demands. It’ll be interesting to see if the American-born defender is given a contract at Pompey.