Ex-Pompey striker sings Chaplin's praises
Conor Chaplin was the scourge of the Hawks to inflict a heavy Westleigh Park defeat.
Yet Lee Bradbury couldn’t help but admire the goalscoring talents of Pompey’s chief destroyer.
Chaplin bagged a 15-minute hat-trick in addition to creating Kal Naismith’s goal in Saturday’s 6-0 triumph for the Blues.
Hawks boss Bradbury is well aware of the youngster’s ability, having watched him in opposition during previous pre-season friendlies.
And, encouragingly for Pompey fans, he believes the 20-year-old is getting better and better.
Bradbury, who scored 46 goals in 167 Blues appearances, said: ‘Conor’s a great little player.
‘Being a centre-forward myself, I watch him, I watch his movement, he’s clever.
‘He’s offside, then he’s not, he’s jumping back on and then running along the line, always stretching the play. It’s intelligent movement as well as quick movement.
‘I am impressed with him and he’s got better and better.
‘I think he’s similar to Matt Tubbs. They both want to stretch the line a bit, they are intelligent and want to play and get in behind people. For a centre-half that is always hard to defend.
‘Certainly, I think Tubbs playing off the target man at our level will do very well.’
Chaplin has often credited Tubbs for helping improve his finishing on the training ground during their time at Fratton Park together.
Tubbs’ own Pompey career produced 14 goals in 40 appearances, before leaving last summer on a path which took him to Forest Green, Woking, Sutton United and Eastleigh.
In May, he signed a two-year deal with the Hawks to bolster their attack following the return to National League South.
However, the prolific striker was in the stands on Saturday nursing a back injury.
It deprived the 2,700 crowd seeing him in Hawks action for the first time, but Bradbury is hopeful of having the striker back soon.
He added: ‘Matt was training and felt a niggle in his back, with an inflammation in there.
‘He’s okay. He’s had an injection to calm it down and should be back in training in the next 48 hours.
‘Fair play to him, he has paid for his own scan and his own injection. He is keen to get going and that shows his intent.
‘Fingers crossed he can start to get his pre-season going.’
– NEIL ALLEN