Chaplin delivers Pompey goal promise

Conor Chaplin. Picture: Neil Marshall
Conor Chaplin. Picture: Neil Marshall
Pompey defender Nathan Thompson Picture: Joe Pepler

Thompson: Pompey need to learn lessons from the season

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Conor Chaplin believes he can threaten the 20-goal barrier in League One.

The Pompey striker feels the goals will flow for him this season – if he’s given the starts he’s anticipating.

It looks set to be a big campaign for the 20-year-old, who appears to be Kenny Jackett’s preferred choice to start up front.

Full appearances for Chaplin proved intermittent under Paul Cook last term, with 29 of his 42 games coming off the bench.

The academy graduate’s goals-to-starts ratio impresses with 20 goals from 23 starts and 66 appearances as sub.

Last term, six of Chaplin’s eight finishes came from starts while his memorable effort against Wycombe was after an early introduction.

He is confident the strikes will arrive if Jackett shows faith in him.

Chaplin said: ‘I want to start more games this season.

‘Everyone has their own opinions about how it was under Paul Cook.

‘I won’t get wrapped up in that but I want to start more games this season. If I do that I will score more goals.

‘Last season I wanted to be in the first team.

‘Since I’ve been in the first team, I’ve started 23 games and scored 20.

‘If that happened again this season I’d hope to get similar numbers.

‘As long as I’m starting games I’d like to think I could do the business on the pitch.

‘I’ve felt ready for two seasons. Don’t get me wrong, I have improved in that time.

‘But I felt I was ready then and I feel like I’m ready to make an impact now.

‘It’s not a case of working harder because I do feel I work hard.

‘It’s just getting the opportunity, in my opinion.’

Chaplin also dismissed the suggestion he can’t play as a lone striker, if that’s the way Jackett chooses to operate.

The fans’ favourite also played down talk of a rift with former boss Cook but is upbeat about the prospects under his successor.

He said: ‘I disagree completely I can’t play up front on my own. I think the evidence is overwhelming that I can.

‘People were saying League Two is too robust and big for me to play as a one.

‘I played in that role at Cambridge away and they were probably the biggest team in the league. It was the same against Wycombe – and I scored against both sides.

‘When I play up front on my own, my start-to-goal ratio is really good.

‘If people think I can’t do that I’d urge them to look. I’d strongly disagree with anyone who thinks I can’t.

‘There’s nothing against Paul Cook at all because he taught me a lot.

‘It wasn’t just about the game but the way things happen and the process.

‘I’m thankful for that but, in terms of the new gaffer coming in, it freshens the place up.

‘I really feel I can really start making my mark now, instead of being someone who comes off the bench.’