Paul Cook has insisted Conor Chaplin will be more than an impact player in Pompey’s promotion run-in.
The diminutive striker and fans’ favourite came off the bench at Barnet last weekend to earn the Blues a late share of the spoils against the Bees.
His stunning last-gasp strike, though, is not expected to earn him a recall to Cook’s starting XI for today’s crunch clash at League Two promotion rivals Carlisle (3pm).
Pompey’s leading scorer hasn’t started a game since Eoin Doyle’s January loan arrival from Preston.
But Cook dismissed suggestions that eight-goal Chaplin should get used to cameo substitute appearances – and called for time to best utilise the 20-year-old’s talents.
‘I think he can have more of a role than that,’ said Cook.
‘I think, without a shadow of a doubt, he can have more of a role than that. Watch this space.
‘We think we are comfortable with what we are doing in the run-in, we are happy with it, we feel we’ve got a really good squad and we feel we can affect games in different ways.
‘Conor not being on the bench could be one of them.
‘So I think people should give us time to see the next few games.’
Cook has admitted Chaplin is one of a number of players currently out of the Blues’ starting XI who remain central to his plans.
‘There are good players here knocking on the door, without a doubt,’ added Cook.
‘They all have different qualities, and whenever you have a bad day people will always highlight the other people that should be playing.
‘That’s the nature of the game, isn’t it?
‘They can’t change that.
‘Conor’s Conor so I’m sure on the run-in Conor will have a massive part to play.’