CONOR CHAPLIN has been told he can now make the Pompey breakthrough.
And Kenny Jackett has challenged the homegrown favourite to show the hunger needed to achieve his goal of becoming a Blues first-team regular.
Chaplin last month celebrated making his 100th senior appearance for the club.
The academy graduate incredibly hit that landmark four months short of his 21st birthday.
His achievement arrived with the striker picking up 27 starts and 73 outings coming off the bench.
It’s a starts-to-games ratio Chaplin is not happy with despite his career still being at a formative stage.
There were hopes this campaign would mark a first-team breakthrough for the Worthing talent.
But nine of his 13 appearances to date have arrived as a substitute – a figure Chaplin has said he’s desperate to improve.
Jackett feels that’s a realistic aim for the fans’ favourite – and believes he’s already ahead of the curve in his development.
The Blues boss said: ‘Conor is 21 in February. How many 21-year-olds have that base of experience behind them?
‘Even if it’s off the bench there’s not many. It’s a great position to be in.
‘Does that want to be reflected over the next 100? No, it doesn’t.
‘Obviously, 73 off the bench, he’ll want a lot more. Is he capable of that? Yes, he is.
‘If you’re looking around the leagues there’s not that many doing it.
‘There’s plenty of players at big clubs just starting to break through, but they’re really happy to get any type of experience.
‘So it’s really good for him, but he’s certainly a determined-enough character to now turn that into regular starts.
‘It’s a double-edged sword, because he gets fantastic backing here.
‘But with that comes a little bit of pressure.
‘I’m sure, though, you’d accept one for the other, and for him anyway he’s got the right character.
‘He wants to be a starter –and a regular starter.
‘He has good determination, Conor. He’s a good, tough character, too. He’s good that way. Maybe starting young has bred that.
‘Either way, he has a good character and a good character for football. He’s resilient.’
Chaplin is currently vying with the likes of Brett Pitman, Oli Hawkins and Curtis Main for playing time. Jackett feels there’s a decent blend of attributes in his options.
He added: ‘My idea for going up is, in the bigger picture, you need five strikers, certainly four.
‘You may get lucky if you get to three and they stay fit for the season.
‘It doesn’t always work that way. So, for me, it’s four or five players for the nine or 10 position.
‘That is ideal. Then you want all different types – which we have got here.’