Pompey boss poised to reward Chaplin

Pompey striker Conor Chaplin Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey striker Conor Chaplin Picture: Joe Pepler
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Conor Chaplin will be thrown the opportunity to demonstrate he can offer more than serving as a Pompey impact player.

The 20-year-old is poised to line up against Northampton tonight (7.45pm) in the absence of Oliver Hawkins.

I am sure Conor will want to be a regular starter. He is 20, at a stage now when of course he would want to be a regular starter

Kenny Jackett

Hawkins is missing having received six stitches to the head wound he sustained at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.

His half-time replacement was Chaplin, who netted five minutes after his introduction in the 2-0 triumph.

He is now in the frame for only his third start under Kenny Jackett, having scored twice from the bench this term.

Of Chaplin’s 96 Blues appearances, just 25 have arrived from the starting XI.

Yet Jackett has been impressed with the striker’s ongoing contribution.

Pompey’s boss said: ‘Conor has battled away well in the last couple of weeks and got a couple of goals. I think he is ready and good to go.

‘He wants to be more than that impact player and first off needs to get the starting chances as he goes through his career.

‘Having said that, you do need impact players – substitutes that are underwhelming are no good. It has to be substitutes who change a game – and you can’t change a game any more than to score.

‘I am sure Conor will want to be a regular starter. He is 20, at a stage now when of course he would want to be a regular starter.

‘It’s a situation where he’s had plenty of minutes on the pitch so far and, in recent weeks, has responded well.

‘He wants to spend as much time as possible on the pitch, but on any Sunday morning if you look through the identity of substitutions, the majority are forward players.

‘They are energy positions, they are impact positions. Of any formation, they are the most substituted.’

Chaplin’s last start was against Rotherham in a 3-4-1-2 formation.

However, he was sacrificed at half-time as Jackett switched to a 4-4-2 in a tactical move designed to bring his team back into the game.

Irrespective, it ended in a 1-0 defeat to Paul Warne’s men.

There remains a debate over which position Chaplin can be most effective.

Certainly, Paul Cook never favoured him in the lone striking role in a 4-2-3-1.

Jackett has employed that same system in seven of his opening eight matches in charge at Fratton Park.

And he admitted the youngster may benefit as part of a front two.

‘I think Conor has to be put in a two up front,’ said Jackett.

‘He is capable of playing up front on his own and we will give it a go, but the front two suits Conor Chaplin I reckon.

‘His game is suited to playing with a partner and he brings a lot.

‘You would want three, four or five players for the nine or 10 positions.

‘I can keep the number 10 as a forward player, but sometimes you need it to be a midfield player to strengthen the midfield area.’