NOEL HUNT’s potential arrival is being viewed in some quarters as a barrier to Conor Chaplin’s Pompey progress.
Paul Cook reckons it may well turn out to be a major boost to the career of the darling of the Fratton faithful.
In tomorrow’s News, Chaplin outlines his desire to be the Blues assassin Cook bills him as next season.
The Academy starlet speaks of his ambition to find more playing minutes and goals to help his club to the promotion they desperately crave.
The 19-year-old made 38 appearances for his side last term as he grabbed himself 11 goals.
But just nine of those outings were starts – a figure Cook is the first to admit was far too low.
Now the Pompey boss is close to finalising his attacking line-up for the new campaign.
This week Cook expressed his comfort in the forward options at the club in Chaplin, Curtis Main and Michael Smith.
But he still had a surprise up his sleeve as he rolled out Noel Hunt at Westleigh Park against the Hawks.
Hunt nabbed a goal and showed supporters what he’s about in a 33-minute runout against Lee Bradbury’s side, coming on for Chaplin.
Cook’s refusal to label the former Republic of Ireland international a triallist was telling. He’s close to coming in.
Importantly, he ticks a major box for his likely new manager when it comes to the character he’s looking to add to his playing and coaching staff.
There are injury doubts, but none around the personality Hunt brings – one which has been known to rub off on young pros.
That experience at the top level is one Chaplin can benefit from as he looks to fulfil his own ambitions.
Cook quietly acknowledges losing Caolan Lavery was a dagger blow to promotion terms last term.
Now, however it pans out for Hunt and Chaplin, attacking options is quite simply the area the Pompey boss has to get right.
– JORDAN CROSS