Pompey debutant back for youth Cup bid

Conor Chaplin. Picture: Allan Hutchings
Conor Chaplin. Picture: Allan Hutchings
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Conor Chaplin is back in Pompey action at Fratton Park tonight.

Although for the Blues’ newest debutant it is with the Academy rather than Andy Awford’s first team.

The 17-year-old appeared off the bench for a five-minute cameo in Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to Accrington.

Tonight the forward is on duty for Mikey Harris’ youngsters in their FA Youth Cup clash with Bolton (7pm).

Chaplin has been in rich form this season, netting 20 goals in 17 games and earning a professional contract in October.

He has also scored twice for the reserves, most recently against Newport County last week.

Yet he remains an Academy player and will lead the line in tonight’s third-round fixture with Bolton.

Regardless, Awford was pleased with the Worthing youngster’s ongoing progress which has now seen him earn a senior appearance.

He said: ‘It was great to see Conor on.

‘When you make a debut you want it to be a winning debut.

‘But when you are losing 3-2 with 10 minutes to go it’s about getting as many attack-minded players on the pitch as possible.

‘Conor and Nigel were the two to go on but it didn’t quite go for them.

‘There was almost half a chance we were hoping would drop for him and he’d gobble up.

‘I’m pleased for him. He has got out there but the over-riding emotion was disappointment at the result.

‘He’s been doing great and he’s a bright lad. He wants to do well and has done well in the youth team and reserves.

‘Conor deserves his opportunity and hopefully there will be more to come.’