Pompey boss wants Chaplin to apply goal pressure

Jake Wigley

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KENNY JACKETT has urged Conor Chaplin to continue putting pressure on Pompey’s strikers.

The 21-year-old netted two superb goals during his 45-minute run-out against Cork City on Monday night.

Pompey front man Conor Chaplin Picture: Colin Farmery

Pompey front man Conor Chaplin Picture: Colin Farmery

The first was a left-foot finish following an exchange of passes with Oli Hawkins, after Chaplin had initially won the ball on the halfway line.

The 4-1 scoreline was completed when Hawkins laid the ball back into Chaplin’s path for a 20-yard left-footed strike which had the keeper rooted to the spot.

It represented a timely display of the finishing powers from a player whose future at the Blues continues to be in doubt.

Having now entered the final year of his contract, the academy graduate once again finds his first-team pathway blocked.

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett Picture: Colin Farmery

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett Picture: Colin Farmery

Yet he has got off to a flying start in pre-season.

Jackett said: ‘Conor needs to keep playing, keep working hard, keep training, as he is, which he does all the time.

‘He just needs to keep committing to the club and the team.

‘He scored two cracking goals against Cork, two really good strikes, and I thought he generally linked up well with Hawkins, which I am looking for.

‘We are looking for partnerships, different types of players. There was some good link play between the pair of them and two goals.

‘It’s nice to start that early in the season, it builds up confidence, and there was quite a complement between those two in the second half.

‘You probably need to play them as a pair up front and get them really close together because they are capable of giving people problems.

‘Conor needs games, definitely. He is 21 and evenings like Monday will help him.’

Chaplin was handed just 11 League One starts last season in a frustrating personal campaign for the striker.

Of his five goals, four arrived from the bench, most memorably the last-gasp winner at MK Dons in February.

In addition, he featured only three times in the final 11 fixtures – all off the bench – while on two occasions during that period didn’t make the squad.

Starting opportunities continue to look bleak for Chaplin this term as he craves regular football.

In the meantime, Jackett has been impressed with the forward’s pre-season.

He added: ‘Conor’s all-round game against Cork wasn’t bad, it wasn’t bad at all.

‘It’s his first game for seven or eight weeks, and for Conor that was a very good start.’ 

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