CONOR CHAPLIN’s Pompey future could lie in a withdrawn attacking role.
Kenny Jackett reckons the Blues front man might be more effective playing in the number 10 position for his side.
The manager feels Chaplin’s hunger has been stoked after returning to the starting XI against Plymouth last weekend.
He was used behind Kal Naismith in the 1-0 win against the Pilgrims at Fratton Park.
Jackett sees Chaplin potentially more of a danger in that position moving forward.
The 20-year-old has been viewed as a poacher since breaking into the first-team picture in 2014.
The Blues boss believes the academy product has under-rated footballing ability which can be tapped into, however.
Jackett said: ‘I played Kal in front of Conor because I think Kal has a little more pace and is stronger in the air. So, for the ball forward, he’s good.
‘It also allows Conor to come off the body slightly rather than be right up there.
‘He’s not physically the biggest, so he can come deeper and show his footballing ability.
‘Conor has got a lot of football and good technical ability in him. He can link the play, pass and get shots off.
‘He’s somebody who can shoot well from the edge of the box.
‘He showed a good strike against Plymouth when it slipped through the keeper’s fingers slightly and went out for a corner.
‘It was a good strike with no backlift.
‘I’ve been pleased with him and I do feel if he can find the spaces he does have the quality and, overall, you then have another goalscorer on the pitch.
‘He can get down the sides from there, too.
‘I do feel for Conor moving forward a big part of it for him is getting away from the big centre-halves and bodies.
‘If he can do that, there’s a lot of football in him. He’s a good footballer as well as a goalscorer.
‘He can make an overall contribution and still bring his goalscoring into it.’
Chaplin’s start on Saturday was his first in the league since facing Fleetwood in the middle of September.
His five League One games since then have all been as a substitute, with a game off the bench, too, against Luton in the FA Cup.
He did start in the Checkatrade Trophy against Charlton in a deeper position, while the same occurred in the Premier League Cup trip to Leicester.
Jackett knows the forward is determined for the playing time to allow him to make an impact, as he weighs up his role against Northampton.
He said: ‘Conor hasn’t had many chances of late from playing early on. He’s not had many chances so he’s going to he champing at the bit.
‘He scored against Peterborough coming on and had a few shots.
‘He had a good game on Saturday as well, so it was a good week for him. It’s been a good week for him in that position.
‘Conor’s a good character – a very good character. We want him to come through and contribute for us moving forward, that would be terrific.’