Marc McNulty enjoying being a Pompey double act

Marc McNulty finally has his strike partner '“ and is eager for the double act to continue.

Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 10:00 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:30 pm
Marc McNulty, right, celebrates his goal against Cambridge United with Conor Chaplin, centre, and Kyle Bennett Picture: Joe Pepler

Conor Chaplin lined up alongside the 23-year-old in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Cambridge United.

It represented the first time the duo had started a Pompey match together – and a rare switch to a 4-4-2 formation under Paul Cook.

It’s a system McNulty favours, preferring to operate as a double act rather than a main striker with one in behind.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

As it turned out, his 41st-minute opener against the U’s was teed up by Chaplin, with Adam Webster netting what proved to be the winner in the second half.

The Blues travel to Exeter tonight with the new forward pairing in the frame to continue.

And McNulty, who grabbed his ninth goal of the season at the weekend, is keen to go again with Chaplin by his side.

He said: ‘I thought it worked well.

‘When you are up against big, physical teams and attempt the long ball, it plays into their hands.

‘But with a partnership like me and Chappers, you need to pass the ball and vary your attacks, which I thought we did.

‘I like playing with two strikers, to be honest.

‘With two up there, one can go behind him, one can come short, but I know the manager also likes playing with two wide boys coming into pockets.

‘The good thing about this team for me is it doesn’t really matter if you are playing two up front or one, the gaffer has so much confidence in his forward players you are always going to get a chance.

‘When Caolan Lavery was here, he played as a number nine and I played the number 10, and we had just started to get a good partnership when he had to go back to Sheffield Wednesday, which is pretty disappointing for everybody.

‘But we have enough good players in forward positions to play a variety of systems, while big Smudge (Michael Smith) has been brought into the club.’

McNulty’s Cambridge strike has established him as Pompey’s current leading scorer.

He now has an impressive return of nine goals in 21 matches as his encouraging loan spell continues.

In doing so, he edges ahead of Chaplin, Gareth Evans and Gary Roberts, who have all registered eight times so far during the campaign.

Exeter are next in McNulty’s sights as Cook’s side attempt to build on their League Two placing of fifth.

The table’s upper echelons are congested – Pompey one of three sides with 52 points residing in the play-off positions.

They are also nine points off third-placed Oxford United in the automatic promotion positions.

McNulty is aware another positive result is required at St James Park.

He added: ‘The games are coming thick and fast and, as a player, that is how you want it.

‘Exeter is a game the boys are looking forward to it, everybody wants to play in the important games and that is another.

‘When we got the opener against Cambridge there was relief, especially to get it just before half-time, and we need more wins.’