'I expect to be starting games and I expect to play' - Chaplin ready to replace Celina
- Credit: Pagepix/Steve Waller
Conor Chaplin hopes his display at Gillingham on Tuesday night will be enough to secure him a starting spot against Shrewsbury this weekend.
The former Barnsley man scored Town’s second goal in their 2-0 Papa John’s Trophy victory, serving a reminder of his abilities after also scoring the Blues’ dramatic draw with Sheffield Wednesday last month.
There’s a vacancy in the Ipswich forward line for Saturday’s game with Shrewsbury, given Bersant Celina is away on international duty, and Chaplin hopes he is the man to fill it.
He faces serious competition, though, with Kyle Edwards also gunning for a start following his return from injury.
“Yeah, of course,” Chaplin said, when asked if he hopes to have forced his way into the side.
“I’ve come here to get this club promoted, nothing else. I expect to be starting games and I expect to play. But whatever happens in terms of the squad, I know we have real quality in this team and we’re all pulling in the same direction.
“I’ve not played 90 minutes once yet, not in the season or in pre-season. So that (playing 85 minutes at Gillingham) was massive for me in terms of getting that feeling.
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“I felt really good as well and was trying to put in that extra yard to try and top up the fuel, so to say.
“I feel in a really good place.”
Chaplin is a versatile player who can play in any of manager Paul Cook’s roles in the front four, but most of his football with Town has come in the No.10 position.
“That’s one I enjoy the most but I honestly don’t mind where I play across that front four,” he said.
“Whether it’s wide up front or in behind the striker, I will work hard for the team, try to make chances, be clever and pick up pockets or play on shoulders.
“Whatever I need to do for the team, I’m happy to do it.”
As well as Chaplin and Edwards, the likes of Rekeem Harper, Louie Barry, Sone Aluko, Joe Pigott, James Norwood and Kayden Jackson are all on the outside looking in when it comes to League One starts.
“I wouldn’t like to have the gaffer’s job because he’s definitely got a tough one,” Chaplin said.
“There are a lot of good players at this football club and you can see that we can make 11 changes and still have so much quality on the pitch. It’s frightening at this level.
“It’s probably the best squad I’ve been involved in in terms of ability and quality. I stand by that.”