Chaplin: Time now to accelerate Pompey play-off bid

Conor Chaplin nets the winner for Pompey at Stadium MK on Saturday
Conor Chaplin nets the winner for Pompey at Stadium MK on Saturday
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THE TIME is now to deliver a play-off charge.

With 15 games of the League One campaign remaining, Conor Chaplin knows the clock is ticking on Pompey’s bid to finish in the top six.

The striker is hoping his late, late winner at MK Dons can be the launchpad for a bid to make it into the end-of-season shake-up.

Saturday’s match marked the start of a busy period of five games in 15 days which can see Kenny Jackett’s men harvest a healthy number of points in a short space of time.

Chaplin is adamant the play-offs is the aim for his team, who currently sit eighth, this term – despite a nightmare start to 2018.

The three points at Stadium MK was the Blues’ first maximum in six attempts in the league this year.

Pompey have also still not defeated any of the top-six sides this term.

From nine games against them, their record reads two draws and seven defeats.

Chaplin has taken solace from the fact the team are still well placed – three points behind Bradford, who are in sixth – despite a drop-off in results.

But he knows the results will need to come soon if there’s to be an exciting end to the season – starting against high-flying Blackburn tonight.

‘We’ve been on quite a poor run, but in that time I think there’s been some good performances and the points return doesn’t really echo that,’ said Chaplin.

‘When we went through the bad run of results the annoying thing was the teams above us have dropped points.

‘Everyone seems to have done it around the same time.

‘You could say that’s fortunate for us really, because we’ve never fell too far away.

‘With them not going on runs we’re still there despite not having a great spell.

‘All the boys are confident that if we get on that run now there’s time to get into the top six.

‘There’s still time, although it’s running out, to stake a claim and cement a play-off place. That’s still definitely the target.

‘All the staff know that’s what we’re aiming for still.’

Pompey will be looking to put right one of their worst performances of the season against Rovers last October.

Boss Kenny Jackett was fuming at the manner in which his side fell to a 3-0 loss in the rain at Ewood Park.

Chaplin knows there was a gulf in quality between the sides on that occasion, but doesn’t feel that’s a true reflection of any gap in class.

He added: ‘Blackburn are such a good side and we saw that when we went up there to play them.

‘They said after that day that was one of their best performances of the whole season. It all clicked for them and we weren’t quite at it.

‘The gap on that day was maybe a lot bigger than it actually is.

‘So hopefully we can put a performance on for our home fans.

‘We need to get on an unbeaten or winning run.

‘That’s something we’re going to need to do if we are to contend for a play-off place.’