Holmes: Champions wary of Pompey's Conor Chaplin

Chief Northampton destroyer Conor Chaplin is bidding to inspire a Pompey double.

Thursday, 5th May 2016, 7:01 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:43 pm
Conor Chaplin celebrates his goal at Sixfields in December. Picture: Joe Pepler

And Ricky Holmes has reiterated the danger posed by the former team-mate he is convinced is heading for bigger things.

Chaplin hit an 85th-minute winner at Sixfields in December when Paul Cook’s side defeated the Cobblers 2-1.

Since then Chris Wilder’s troops have gone 24 league games unbeaten and taken the League Two title.

Saturday marks Holmes’ first return to the club he left under Andy Awford in January 2015.

The winger has kept in touch with Chaplin, who netted his 11th goal of the season at Hartlepool last weekend.

And he is adamant the youngster from Worthing possesses a bright future.

Holmes said: ‘I thought it was a close game at Sixfields, there wasn’t too much in it and it could have gone either way.

‘We had a corner in the last minute, Pompey broke and beat us. That’s football.

‘We have gone on a hell of a run since and not lost.

‘Conor is a finisher, a nice lad and grounded. I bet his goal-to-minutes ratio is right up there in the league.

‘I don’t know about his celebration on Saturday, though, I thought that was a bit arrogant!

‘I am going to have to ring him and tell him to celebrate every goal like it is your last!

‘I am sure he will go on to bigger things.

‘I know he has Portsmouth at heart and if it’s not with them then it will be with somebody else.

‘You give him a sniff and he’ll take it, just like he did it against us.

‘The ball just falls to him. It is not a coincidence, it happens every time he is in the box.

‘He just knows where to be, doesn’t miss many chances and we will have to watch him on Saturday.

‘I still speak to Conor. He texted me the other week to say well done in winning the league, which is humble for a 19-year-old kid to do that.

‘I don’t think there is any rush getting him in the team.

‘He’s a young lad still learning his trade and the manager is doing it right.

‘Cook knows exactly what he is doing to nurture a youngster, he is a seasoned manager who has had success. There is no rush with Conor, he’s a young lad still learning.’

Holmes scored twice in 62 games for Pompey after arriving in the summer of 2014.

And he remains impressed with the calibre of his ex-colleagues who are still at Fratton Park.

He added: ‘Jack Whatmough is one hell of a player and can go the next step if he gets himself fit again.

‘My gaffer voted for Adam Webster as one of his players of the season.

‘I am sure he will get linked with clubs because he still has the youth.

‘There aren’t too many ball-playing centre-halves in League Two when everyone puts their foot through it. He will go on to big things.’