Kenny Jackett on Conor Chaplin’s sale to Coventry ahead of his Portsmouth return
Conor Chaplin's sale to Coventry was a business decision that made sense for Pompey.
That is the assessment of boss Kenny Jackett as the striker returns to Fratton Park for the first time since his summer departure.
Chaplin was a fans’ favourite but grew frustrated with the lack of first-team minutes at the Blues.
Despite making his debut aged 17 and being highly regarded, the Worthing ace struggled to nail down a regular starting spot under previous boss Paul Cook and Jackett.
Following a public pursuit, the 22-year-old left for the Ricoh Arena in August – initially on loan before his £500,000 permanent switch was completed in January.
Jackett admitted he struggled to accommodate Chaplin in the lone-striker role of his 4-2-3-1 system.
And a fresh start, coupled with a lucrative fee for a player in the final year of his contract, meant for all parties it was right for the academy graduate to leave his boyhood club.
The Pompey manager said: ‘Conor is an excellent lad and we’ll be doing everything we can to beat Coventry.
‘For us, we were inside the last year of his contract with a lot of money on the table.
‘As a club, we had to make that decision. That is sometimes the way that it works.
‘In terms of the contractual situation, if you get inside the last 12 months and £500,000 is on the table then as a club you have a business decision to make.
‘With Conor wanting a fresh start, reluctantly we had to accept it.
‘It was a business decision in the end and if there’s not money on the table it might have been different. In that situation there was
‘For myself and Paul Cook, we favour the 4-2-3-1 formation and where does Conor fit in in the 4-2-3-1? That was possibly the case tactically.
‘He is a smashing lad, Conor, and I would always want him to do well – not necessarily on the days against us but that can only be two days out of a year.
‘But I am sure everyone at Portsmouth will be wishing him all the best.’
Chaplin’s name could again be sung by the Fratton faithful this afternoon – and not for the first time since he left.
He netted Coventry’s winner in their dramatic 5-4 victory at Sunderland earlier this month to bolster Pompey’s chances of automatic promotion.
That led to “He's One Of Our Own” being chanted by Blues fans inside PO4.
Jackett added: ‘The scored are up on the scoreboard and you can put two and two together and work out what’s happened.
‘There were couple of times when the crowd reacted – at 1-0, certainly at 3-1 when I looked up and then the next one was 5-4.
‘They were the big reactions.’