Chaplin: We're Just Starting to Click
Tuesday, 19th Oct 2021 06:00
Town go into tonight’s League One clash at Portsmouth having lost just once in their last seven games in all competitions and likely starter Conor Chaplin believes the team are heading in the right direction.
The league table shows the Blues in the bottom half with a lot of ground to make up on the leading sides but with 34 games still to play there is undoubtedly time for them to mount a promotion challenge.
It may have to be via the play-offs, rather than by the automatic route, but there is no doubt a win at Fratton Park would be a giant step towards putting together the sort of run that would quickly see them climb the league.
Last time out, at Cambridge on Saturday, Town surrendered a 2-0 lead as the U’s fought back and levelled in the 88th minute. But Chaplin said: “As disappointing as it was at Cambridge at the weekend we finished up a point closer to the play-offs.
“It depends which way you look at it but of course we’re disappointed we didn’t win the game after going 2-0 up.
“Overall we’re disappointed that we haven’t put more points on the table by this stage of the season. Everyone’s expectation was that we would have more points by now than we’ve actually got – but we’re not in a bad place.
“We know we’re a brand new team, we’re just starting to click and gel, and I definitely think the supporters who have watched us home and away will vouch for that in terms of how we look over the 90 minutes.
“Earlier on this season we had a lot of stages in games when we were a bit shaky. You could tell we were a brand new team and relationships within certain areas of the team weren’t quite there yet.
“But I don’t think that can be levelled at us too much anymore. I really do think we’re starting to go in the right direction and it’s one loss in seven at the moment, albeit we would like to have more points. We’ll be going out to get all three at Portsmouth.”
For Chaplin it is a return to his roots, having linked up with Pompey when he was only six and by the time he left to join Coventry on loan in August 2018, a move that became permanent in January the following year, he had scored 22 goals in 104 league games, coming off the bench in 73 of them.
He added: “I wasn’t disappointed at the time to be leaving Portsmouth to join Coventry because it was what I wanted back then. I needed to play regular football and that’s what happened.
“I don’t regret leaving Pompey because I knew it was the right decision for my career. I went on to play for Coventry and then for Barnsley for two years in the Championship so I was happy with the way my career was going.
“I’m looking to build on that now I’m here at Ipswich. All my family and friends in the stand at Fratton Park will be supporting Ipswich, no question. That’s the overriding factor, they support the team I’m playing for and even when it’s against Portsmouth. They’ll be fully Ipswich.
“They’ve been coming to the home games at Ipswich and they love it. They’re unbelievable in terms of providing a support network.
“God knows how many miles they’ve travelled over how many hours watching me play football all over the country and the game at Portsmouth is almost local for them, so that’s a bonus. They’re really looking forward to it and I am as well.
“There aren’t many players still there that I played with but on my previous visits I was lining up against lads that I’d known for years and played alongside many times. That’s not really the case anymore.”
But what if Chaplin can add to his three-goal tally for the Blues and help inspire a much-needed victory, a second in their six league fixtures away from home. Will he celebrate scoring against a former club? He said: “I’ve not really thought about that. I won’t be planning anything in advance – wait and see what happens if I do get a goal.
“But I’m pleased with my form and when I play I’m confident that’s what I can contribute to the team. Since I came here I’ve not really been 100 per cent fit but I have felt a lot better in the last two or three games.
“It makes a huge difference. I was affected by Covid and once I got over that I only had one or two weeks training before I got injured in the first game of the season.
“I feel like I’m in a really good place now and I can not only run a lot more, I can run a lot harder, which also allows me to show what I can do on the ball as well, which is another positive.
“I feel like I’m playing well and affecting the team in a positive way, so long may that continue.”
Chaplin was named this week as a trustee of the Community Trust and added: “I was really proud and honoured when Mark [Ashton, CEO] asked me to do the role. It’s something that I dabbled in at all my previous clubs and see it as a really important role.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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