Striker tells of Pompey squad desire to see Chaplin stay

Pompey striker Oli Hawkins. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey striker Oli Hawkins. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Oli Hawkins has told how the Pompey squad want Conor Chaplin to stay and wreak havoc on League One defences.

The striker believes Chaplin can remain at Fratton Park and be a serious goal threat for Kenny Jackett's men next season.

That looks likely to be the case with Mo Eisa on the brink of completing a move to Championship side Bristol City.

That in turn looks set to put a close to the prospect of Chaplin moving to Coventry.

Hawkins believes Chaplin deserves praise for his conduct amid the transfer talk.

And the prospect of the 21-year-old staying at his club is one which pleases him.

Hawkins said: 'Everyone wants Conor to stay really.

'We all know Conor is a great player. He's still young and got such potential.

'He's got a goal threat and off the pitch he's a popular player, so it would be a shame to lose him.

'If he was to go it would be a shame, but it's down to the club and not us players.

'All we do is keep our noses out of it, let them get on with it and see what happens. Let's hope he stays.

'He's shown how good and professional he is with all this drama going on.

'I've had it at clubs previously and it can get into the back of your mind. But he's scoring goals and doing really well in training. It's not fazing him.

'Whatever happens, we all want the best for him.'

Hawkins linked up with Chaplin, who operated in a deeper role, in Saturday's 2-0 victory at Swindon.

There is the possibility of another young striker coming in to boost competition, but Hawkins believes the existing front men offer goal threat.

Hawkins added: 'It's always good to play with Chappers and I felt we linked up quite well. He's the type of player who can run beyond the target man and cause problems in the space. It worked well at times.

'Me and Conor had a couple of games together last season and did okay with the chances we got. When a chance comes you have to take it.

'Brett's the skipper and the top scorer. All we can do is help him with the goals or try to knock him off the centre-forward spot. It's all good competition, and it's friendly competition.

'There's going to be a lot of games next season and the aim for whoever plays is to do well for Portsmouth.

'There's going to be combinations whether that's me and Chappers, Chappers or Pits (Pitman) or me and Pits. We'll see what works and get the wins.'