PAUL COOK is set to unleash ‘assassin’ Conor Chaplin on Macclesfield.
Cook has confirmed the teenage hitman will start against the Silkmen in today’s FA Cup first-round clash at Fratton Park.
Chaplin will be handed a place in the Pompey boss’s starting XI, as he makes his first appearance from the outset since the clash with Exeter in September.
Cook feels he cannot leave out the 18-year-old, who has five goals to his name this season.
And he is certain Chaplin will bring the predatory instincts which are a hallmark of his game to the table.
Cook said: ‘Conor’s a massive tick.
‘I see Conor more as a number nine in the modern-day game.
‘He’s a finisher, he’s an assassin – the one who fires the ball into the net.
‘I’ve always thought he was a number nine.
‘Some of the coaching stuff think he’s more of a 10.
‘He’s an attacking player.
‘His job on the pitch is to score goals, so you have to build the team around him.
‘He has to have minutes on the pitch.’
With new-face Marc McNulty eligible for the game, Cook intends to give an extended run out to the loan arrival.
Cook added: ‘The new boy has only come in yesterday.
‘Common sense tells you he’ll come on the pitch at quite an early stage, but that depends how the game is going.
‘It gives him a little chance to have a look at the things we do.
‘It’s a chance for more minutes for Adam McGurk.
‘It’s a chance for more of these players and hopefully for more penetration.’