My view from up North: Chaplin needs stint away from Pompey

The News have this week welcomed Fratton Park season-ticket-holder and work-placement student Dan Statham onto the sports desk.

Friday, 25th May 2018, 2:53 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:50 am
Pompey's Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Our temporary new arrival sits in the North Stand and is not short of an opinion or two with regards his hometown club.

Today he looks at the debate surrounding Conor Chaplin's future. Here's what he had to say...

There are a few major talking points which have divided Portsmouth fans for the past couple seasons.

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Midfield misery, defensive disasters, Pitman's best position and the big one, the curious case of Conor Chaplin.

As the majority of those problems eased as the season drew on, the case of Chaplin is one which has remained much debated.

Chaplin, has been a part of Pompey's first team since his debut back in the defeat to Accrington in 2014 at Fratton Park.

The pacy forward netted his first goal in a 3-1 defeat at Morecambe in April of that year. Chaplin figured consistently in the two campaigns in League Two that followed.

He netted 11 in 38 in the 2015-16 season and then eight in 42 in the 2016-17 season, albeit a large amount of those appearances coming from the bench.

The Worthing-born talent featured far less last season making only 26 appearances, with 15 of those being sub appearances, in the league.

Kenny Jackett tried various attacking partnerships last season, before settling on a 4-2-3-1 and 4-1-4-1 formations, which featured regularly towards the end of the season.

Brett Pitman, when fit was easily first choice up top which resulted in Chaplin having to settle for second, or at times, third fiddle.

Fans' favourite Chaplin also dropped out of the match-day squad completely on two occasions, in the games at Walsall and Rochdale.

The 21-year-old striker has made 104 appearances for the Blues since his promotion out of the youth academy, but has only started 31 of those matches. Naturally, it's difficult to impress in such infrequent starts.

Following the signings of Ronan Curtis from Derry City and Louis Dennis on a free transfer, Chaplin's place in Pompey's match-day squads look even further at risk. But what is the best solution to the problem?

In this supporter's opinion, Pompey need to let Chaplin head out on loan, rather than him having to sit and suffer on the bench or outside of the match-day squad. It's situations like this which can lead to players becoming frozen out.

As reported recently, Jackett identified Chaplin as being unhappy with his participation this season.

He needs the game time to improve, and sadly, next season I'm not sure it will be forthcoming, especially with the new signings of Dennis and Curtis.

Chaplin could easily slide his way into most teams in English football's basement tier.

I personally think he could operate in any of the three positions behind the striker, whether that be Pitman or Hawkins or anyone else.

But at this stage of his career Chaplin needs to be playing week-in, week-out - and he won't be getting the opportunities to do this at Pompey next season.

This is due to him falling down the pecking order. He is behind Hawkins and Pitman up-front - and possibly Curtis and Dennis in the number 10 position.

He needs to be playing consistent football at a respectable level, which is why I'd favour a loan spell in the tier below.

Pompey, though, need to retain his services for the long-term - because Chaplin definitely has star quality, still.

Heading out on loan will aid his development, and has the potential to benefit both Chaplin and the club.

But keeping him rotting on the bench will be detrimental to both - and could force one of our own out the club for good.