Jackett: Time's right to unleash Chaplin

CONOR CHAPLIN is set to be unleashed on League One.

Friday, 16th February 2018, 4:37 pm
Updated Friday, 16th February 2018, 4:38 pm
Pompey striker Conor Chaplin Picture: Robin Jones/Digital South

Kenny Jackett is prepared to let the striker loose on defences across the campaign’s finale.

Chaplin is in line to start against Southend after bagging two goals in Pompey’s past two outings.

The fans’ favourite turns 21 today, and is out to celebrate the occasion by building on the scoring run Jackett believes he’s capable of delivering.

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Chaplin had failed to see a minute of league action this year before his recent introduction against MK Dons at the interval.

The academy graduate is champing at the bit for an extended run – and there’s every sign that could now arrive.

Jackett said: ‘Forwards do tend to go on streaks of goals. It would be great for Conor.

‘He’s got two in two now, so hopefully that continues over the rest of the season.

‘For him, he’s 21 now and wants to play more of a part than he has done in previous seasons.

‘Conor wants to get on a run, and if I’m looking at him he looks mentally and physically ready to take that on.

‘He should be coming into his time. He has enough experience now to really be able to build on what he’s done in previous seasons.

‘Conor can go on and be a regular scorer for the club.

‘I think he could (get more minutes on the pitch). If you go on what players have done on both Saturday and Tuesday, I was impressed with what he did. Very pleased with him.

‘For him, he played quite a lot early season. As things have gone around things have swung back his way on Saturday.

‘We needed a second forward. Someone who was a bit nippier. Mobility and energy are the type of things Conor can bring.

‘Obviously, he’s one of the young players I’m aware of and looking at to really come on, improve and establish himself here.

‘That’s not just as somebody who makes an impact off the bench, but as a regular.’

Jackett is currently picking his forward players from the quartet of Chaplin, Brett Pitman, Oli Hawkins and Connor Ronan, with Kal Naismith also a withdrawn attacking option.

The Blues boss feel they give him the right blend of quality and experience to cause problems, although he hasn’t hit upon a preferred formula.

Jackett added: ‘However you call your front line or whatever system you play, you need a collection of forwards when you’re strong.

‘The age range and how they complement each other are big things.

‘You can’t just have one or two for that position. It doesn’t work like that. You need fresh ones off the bench.

‘We go to Fleetwood next week off the back of three games in eight days. You need to be able to put a fresh player or two out there when you need it.

‘That’s what happened with Conor at MK Dons – and he took his chance.’