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Interviews

Conor Chaplin On Pompey Return!

Striker discusses FA Cup trip to Portsmouth

24 January 2020

Conor Chaplin spoke EXCLUSIVELY to barnsleyfc.co.uk ahead of a return to his old stomping ground.

The Reds travel to Hampshire for Saturday's fourth round Emirates FA Cup tie with Portsmouth and probably the only person connected with the Reds who was happy when the draw was made was 10-goal striker, Conor Chaplin.

Our in-form number 11 told us what the clash means to him, and how much he's looking forward to going back to 'his' club. 

"Portsmouth is my club." Chaplin explained.

"It's the club I supported, the club I was at since being six-years-old. So it's always going to be a part of me. And I owe a lot to the club as well, because they gave me everything in terms of opportunities and right at the start of my career, the learning and developing as a player and a person.

"So it's always going to be my club. And it's going to be so good to go back there. There are a lot of familiar faces and my friends and family will be coming to the game. I'm excited for the weekend."

Despite his deep feeling for his former club, Conor accepted that he needed a fresh start after becoming dissatisfied with his game-time in his final season at Fratton Park.

The soon-to-be 23-year-old forward put his career first, leaving home and taking on a new challenge in the summer of 2018.

"The reason I left was because I wasn't getting enough starts. I didn't want to leave in terms of leaving the club, leave my home. It's not something that I wanted but, but I sort of put my career first. It just wasn't the right manager at the right time for me I guess. 

"Things just weren't happening how I needed them to at that time. I just felt I brought enough onto the pitch to warrant a proper run from the start but it wasn't to be. The year we won the league I was like 19 or whatever and started about 17 times so that's fine, but the next two seasons followed a similar pattern so I had a decision to make. 

"I came back for pre-season in the summer of 2018 and even before I knew of the interest from Barnsley and Coventry, I knew already I had to try and get out, for my career, I had to go and play games. I wanted to get better and you've got to play regular football to do that, to develop. 

"Every player wants to play at the highest level and you can't have that optimistic mindset and be happy as a sub in League One."

Chaplin is a player that had been on Barnsley's radar for a few different windows.

He was transferred to Coventry City ahead of the 2018/19 League One season and his move to Oakwell was therefore put back a year.

He told us he enjoyed his time with the Sky Blues but is happy to have at last made it as a Reds player and wants to focus now on helping push the club up and away from trouble, but only after progressing in the FA Cup at his former home this weekend..

"I knew Barnsley wanted me," he said, smiling. "They'd been looking at me previously and I know bids were knocked back. But I ended up going to Coventry and I don't regret that at all. 

"I had a good season there. There was a bit of a tough spell at the turn of the New Year when I got an injury and was out for a lot longer than I first expected to be. And I came back with the team flying so it was a struggle to get back in the team. And rightly so to be honest, the team was doing really well. 

"But it was a year I really enjoyed. It was my first experience of living away from home, up north and that was good experience. But I'm glad I finally got here and I'm really happy with the start I've made to my Barnsley career. 

"I hope we can get through in the cup at Fratton Park and I hope that I can help the club get up the table and make sure we're still a Championship club next season."


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