Pompey striker must learn lesson

Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Anton Walkes Picture: Joe Pepler

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Conor Chaplin must learn the error of his ways.

That’s the message from Pompey boss Paul Cook after seeing his main striker ruled out of tomorrow night’s trip to Luton Town through suspension.

Chaplin picked up a fifth booking of the League Two season in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Cheltenham – with fellow front man Michael Smith coming off the bench to earn a draw for the Blues.

It is the self-inflicted and seemingly avoidable manner of Chaplin’s one-match ban, however, which is a disappointment for Cook.

The 19-year-old’s Whaddon Road caution was for dissent, while he has twice been booked for failing to retreat from free-kicks, as well as seeing yellow for kicking the ball away and diving.

And the message from Pompey’s boss to his key man is a simple one.

Cook said: ‘It’s disappointing but Conor has got to learn to stop chatting away to referees.

‘He has to learn that and he has to learn it the hard way like everyone else.

‘It’s (Chaplin’s discipline) not really something I have spoken to him about.

‘Conor has missed a few chances lately, though, and it is just something that comes from frustration.

‘He wants to do so well for the fans.

‘And when he is missing chances, especially in front of those fans, then a little frustration comes to the fore.’

Promotion-chasing Pompey head to Kenilworth Road tomorrow in fifth place, with their hosts two points and one place above them in the table.

Cook, though, believes he has ready-made replacements to fill Chaplin’s void for what promises to be a hard-fought contest.

He added: ‘It’s a good opportunity for someone.

‘We have got Michael Smith and Noel Hunt. We are fine.’