Conor Chaplin bids farewell to Pompey mentor Tubbs

Matt Tubbs, left and Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Matt Tubbs, left and Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Conor Chaplin has thanked Pompey mentor Matt Tubbs for improving his goalscoring prowess.

And the youngster backed Eastleigh to thrive with the ‘natural-born scorer’ now in their side.

Tubbs yesterday completed his long-anticipated switch to the Spitfires, joining on a 93-day loan.

The 31-year-old had this season scored five goals in 17 appearances for Paul Cook’s side. However, he failed to make a Blues first-team squad after October 31 following, firstly, injury and then the form of others.

Chaplin formed a close friendship with the ex-Bournemouth striker during their time at Fratton Park – a relationship honed through hours practicing on shooting following training.

And the 18-year-old paid tribute to Tubbs, who last night made his debut for Eastleigh at Kidderminster.

Chaplin said: ‘I was very close to Tubbsy, he was one of my best mates here.

‘He’s the best finisher I have ever played with.

‘We were doing a shooting drill the other day and he’s at an angle 18-yards out on the corner of the box and produced a Rabona to send it over the keeper and into the far corner.

‘It was the best goal I have ever seen in my life – and Kal Naismith will back me up on that!

‘Wherever Tubbsy goes he will score goals, he is a natural-born scorer.

‘I have learnt a lot from him. At Northampton in December I scored my goal from what I had worked on with Tubbsy on the training ground and the positions he has told me to take up.

‘We always did shooting together after training with some of the other lads and whenever he felt he needed to offer me tips he would help me out.

‘He has been really good for me since he came to Pompey, made me a better player, and I have scored a goal following advice he has given.

‘I spoke to him yesterday morning and will miss him being around.’

Tubbs scored 14 goals in 40 Pompey outings after arriving as a free agent from Bournemouth in January 2015.

He netted nine goals for the Blues during the second-half of that campaign to seal his place as the League Two golden boot winner.

Yet the striker has struggled to adapt to Cook’s preferred system of 4-2-3-1 and slipped out of the first-team picture.

Chaplin added: ‘Tubbsy wants to be playing football and you know he will go and score goals.

‘He hasn’t been picked for Pompey recently but his attitude hasn’t changed at all, he was always in the gym and continuing to put himself about in training.

‘For someone like me to see a 31-year-old doing that when he could easily be unhappy about not getting in the team is fantastic.

‘His attitude has been unbelievable. Good luck to him.’