Conor Chaplin adamant patience is his key into Pompey side

Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Conor Chaplin remains patient, as calm and collected over his regular substitute role as he is when the ball is in the penalty area vicinity.

Yet the forward is fully aware he needs to step on the accelerator soon.

After all, Gareth Evans is in danger of catching up and wrestling away that prized top-scorer mantle.

The last time Chaplin started a League Two match was September. Regardless, no Pompey player has yet managed to match his nine-goal return.

Fittingly, the youngster who turns 19 next week has made 19 appearances off the bench so far under Paul Cook.

The Blues’ vast array of attacking talent ensures competition is fierce in that area of the pitch, with the likes of Adam McGurk, Kal Naismith and Ben Tollitt also restricted.

Yet none have managed the goal haul of the home-grown youngster, who has netted against Championship trio Derby, Reading and Ipswich this season.

Regardless, Chaplin continues to bide his time, waiting for that opportunity to make Cook’s starting XI.

And with Pompey facing Bristol Rovers tomorrow, he’s hoping for a breakthrough.

He said: ‘I wouldn’t say it is frustrating and I’m definitely not banging on the manager’s door.

‘Obviously everyone wants to play but there are a lot of good players in our team and I am only young. I just have to wait for my opportunity and when it comes I will be ready.

‘It’s about keeping patient. I am desperate to play but am in no rush.

‘I’ve scored quite a few goals this season and am still top scorer, which is something I am proud of, especially having come through the ranks.

‘I have a joke with Gareth Evans about him catching me up. He’s getting there slowly and has seven at the moment, so hopefully I can get another one soon!

‘To be leading scorer at a club like Pompey come February is obviously quite a big achievement.

‘But it’s not about that, it’s about this team getting promotion however it comes, whether automatically or through the play-offs.

‘I have learnt plenty from being on the bench. When you come onto that pitch it is a lot more frantic than starting a game, when you have the opportunity to feel your way in.

‘A substitute needs to get up to the pace of the match as quickly as possible, you cannot really catch your breath.

‘Still, you have to do whatever the team needs, that is what I am there for.’

Skipper for the day Chaplin netted the opening goal in a 3-1 victory over Reading’s development squad in a behind-closed-doors fixture on Tuesday.

It was the fifth-successive Blues reserve match he has registered in, with a tally of seven goals from five appearances.

The latest was a left-foot volley inside the box, in typical composed fashion.

He added: ‘Every forward-thinking player wants to score goals and even if it’s playing for the reserves that is no different.

‘I scored in the week against Reading and the gaffer and coaching staff were watching. It is about fitness, but you also want to impress those people.’