Chaplin Hoping to Be Third Time Lucky
Tuesday, 19th Oct 2021 06:00
Conor Chaplin will be hoping it’s a case of third time lucky when he returns to first club Portsmouth with Town tonight as they look to overcome the disappointment of only taking one point from their visit to Cambridge at the weekend.
The Blues went two goals ahead at the Abbey Stadium before having to settle for just one point as Cambridge, last season’s League Two champions, became the latest side to peg them back with a late equaliser that leaves Paul Cook’s men in 15th place in the League One table with 14 points from their first 12 games of the new campaign.
But Chaplin believes the frustration of letting two points slip from their grasp can provide motivation at Fratton Park, where they take on a Pompey outfit managed by Danny Cowley and only one point better off after only one win from their last nine league games.
The 24-year-old said: “The disappointment can drive us on, as will the fact that Portsmouth are one of my former clubs, which adds a little something to it as far as I’m concerned.
“The manner of the result at Cambridge on Saturday was very frustrating for us but that’s done now and we can’t do anything about it now, so it’s all about trying to rectify things with a good result at Fratton Park.
“This will be my third time back at Pompey since I left the club three years ago and in my two visits so far I haven’t managed to get a win. I’m hoping it’s going to be a case of third time lucky. I love going back and feel completely comfortable with it.
“I played a lot of games in that stadium so it’s somewhere that means a lot to me. There are a lot of good memories and their fans are special, among the very best for creating an atmosphere and I can’t wait for it, especially since it will be under the lights.
“Portsmouth is a football city and the supporters are very passionate about the game and particularly their club.
“It’s what brings everyone together in the city and the fans are extremely proud of their club. Whether the supporters are for you or against you it’s always a great atmosphere.
“As the away team we should relish the fixture and the occasion. We’ve got to take it in our stride and enjoy it. Any player who has been down there to play will tell you the same because there’s nowhere quite like it.”
But could the home faithful turn against their team if they don’t provide the hoped-for improvement after a depressing recent run of form? “Like any big club in any division the expectancy is always there,” Chaplin added.
“It’s the same at our club, at Sunderland and at Sheffield Wednesday because we are all big clubs who want to be playing at a higher level.
“So if things are not going their way, of course you will hear moans and groans, which is all part of football and why we love it. As players we have all experienced it.”
Chaplin was actually snapped up by Pompey when he was only six years old and at nine he was officially recruited to the academy, eventually graduating to make his senior debut in a 3-2 home defeat by Accrington in December 2014.
Chaplin after scoring for Pompey at Portman Road in 2016
Asked about his early memories of the club, he said: “I’d probably have to say the Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe era is my earliest memory of being at the club because that’s the time I was growing up and I remember it most.
“Defoe was my hero back then at the time I was playing games at the training ground and that’s what sticks out in my mind.
“I was only six when I joined the club and then nine when I joined the academy proper. I remember Gary O’Neil was the first team player who was there for us to have our picture taken with and sign autographs.
“I can see my own picture in my head right now and it’s in the family photo album. I’m not saying I could lay my hands on it straight away but I know I still have it somewhere.
“I went all the way through to the first team at Portsmouth, which was the dream of each and every one of us who signed for the club.
“Making my debut for the club I had grown up playing for made it that bit special. I think, because I had put in the hours and worked really hard for my big chance.
“When it came it literally was a case of my dream coming true. Making your professional debut is an incredible feeling, the culmination of a lot of years of my parents driving me here, there and everywhere for games.
“My granddad as well, him and my parents also making sacrifices to get me up and down the A27 as and when I was required to be there.
“I don’t think you fully appreciate the support of your family when you’re younger; it’s only as you get older you realise the amount of time and energy, as well as the great encouragement, that you are given along the way. It’s fair to say it might never have happened but for the backing they gave me.”
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