Coventry’s Conor Chaplin delivers thanks to ‘unbelievable’ Portsmouth fans

Conor Chaplin was touched by the Fratton faithful's reception upon his Pompey return. Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin was touched by the Fratton faithful's reception upon his Pompey return. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Conor Chaplin paid tribute to the Fratton faithful following an emotional south-coast return.

The striker featured for just 15 minutes in Coventry City’s 2-1 Fratton Park loss.

A disappointing end for Chaplin and his team-mates, who must now accept their League One play-off aspirations are all but mathematically over.

The match also marked a homecoming for a player who scored 25 times in 122 appearances after graduating through the Blues’ Academy.

Chaplin’s name was chanted by Pompey fans the first time he warmed up, while he received generous applause from the home support during his entrance as a substitute.

And the 22-year-old admitted he was touched by the gesture.

He said: ‘It was strange coming back here with another team, but good to see a lot of familiar faces.

‘I left on good terms and my relationship with the fans has always been fantastic. Coming back, they were brilliant to me, I couldn’t have asked for a better reception and am very thankful.

‘I heard them when warming up, they were joking about “We’ve seen you before” and being useless straight after singing my name! That was funny, to be fair!

‘Coventry was obviously a move I had to make and I have no regrets leaving at all.

‘Recently I saw the videos on Twitter of the Pompey fans singing my name after getting the winner at Sunderland. Along with Monday, that wouldn’t happen to many players, they are unbelievable.

‘I have so much respect, admiration and love for the Pompey fans. I couldn’t really have asked for a better reception.’

For Chaplin, there was also a little matter of coming up against former team-mates.

In particular, best friend Ben Close – and fellow League Two title-winners Gareth Evans, Christian Burgess, Jamal Lowe and Matt Clarke.

He added: ‘When you step over the white line it’s competition.

‘You’re facing best mates such as Closey, who I’ve played with for 12-13 years. But as soon as you go onto the pitch you don’t really think of that, you try to do the best for the team you are representing.

‘I keep in touch with most of them to be fair. We’ve had some great memories together, not just boys in the Academy, but lads I won the league with. I talk to a lot of them.’