Ian Foster insists Pompey’s management don’t need reminding of Conor Chaplin’s talents.
Nonetheless, the youngster once again conjured up an impressive attacking performance for the reserves in front of Paul Cook yesterday.
And with the Blues’ first team craving the cutting edge to their strong possessional play, the 18-year-old put his hand up emphatically.
This time it was Crawley Town on the receiving end of another eye-catching reserve display from Chaplin.
Held behind closed doors yesterday afternoon at Pompey’s Hilsea training ground, the hosts chalked up a 4-2 victory.
Adam Barton and Matt Tubbs both got on the scoresheet, yet it was Chaplin with two goals and an assist which eclipsed their contributions.
First-team coach Ian Foster had selected a strong Blues line-up with starts for Nigel Atangana, Kal Naismith, Ben Tollitt, Chaplin and Tubbs, having all been on the bench at Notts County last weekend.
Meanwhile, Brian Murphy, who played in that 2-1 Meadow Lane defeat, was named in goal – to be replaced at half-time by Alex Bass.
There were also two young triallists on display for Pompey – a right-back and central defender – as part of a week’s stay at the club.
Foster’s side fought back from a goal down to claim a deserved victory, sealed by Chaplin in the 90th minute.
And he was delighted with the showing.
‘We had spells in the game where we were out in possession, but I thought the players looked good in the structure and worked really, really hard,’ said Foster.
‘As hard as we train, you can’t replicate match speed and match tempo without playing competitive games and we knew Crawley would come with a good team and give us a good game, which they did.
‘So a lot of the boys got at least an hour into them, which is great for the legs, great for the CV, and they are ready to go when the manager calls upon them.
‘I liked the way they worked out of possession, we are getting better and better at that, then in transition the boys attacked really, really well, scoring four goals.
‘It has been interesting to see the lads who are out of the team and the way they approach the games and I think every one has been first class.
‘The manager has mentioned before how the squad is quite big at the moment and it is difficult to get all these lads on the pitch. These games are important so when the manager does call upon them they are ready to go.’
Pompey fell behind in the 15th minute through Christian Scales’ back header from a corner.
However, eight minutes later Barton struck a first-time left-foot shot from long range for the leveller, before Chaplin half-volleyed his first to give the hosts a 2-1 half-time lead.
Gavin Tomlin’s deflected shot made it 2-2, before Chaplin fed Tubbs for a goal and then himself struck a sweet shot from outside the box to complete a 4-2 triumph.
POMPEY: Murphy (46min Bass), Triallist (70min Nilsen), Clarke, Triallist (70min Field), Haunstrup, Barton, Atangana (60min Close), Tollitt (60min Bennett), Chaplin, Naismith (60min McGurk), Tubbs (60min Evans).