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Tubbs topped last season’s English League Two scoring chart with 21 goals – two more than Jamie Cureton – despite being on the books of two teams that finished the competition adjacent to each other on the bottom half of the ladder – 15th-placed Wimbledon and 16th-placed Portsmouth. So Tubbs did not enjoy a great deal of continuity – he scored 12 goals in 22 English League Two games for Wimbledon and he netted nine times in 23 divisional matches for Portsmouth – plus neither of his sides was a high-scoring outfit.
Portsmouth has been the English League Two market mover in the lead up to the season kicking off and with good reason. Portsmouth hired one of the English Football League’s best managers, Paul Cook, persuading him to drop down one level. Cook has done some sweet talking of his own, convincing Gary Roberts to swap Chesterfield for Portsmouth also. Roberts was one of the top players in English League One last term and his speciality is laying on goal-scoring chances – he had 21 assists for the Spireites in the last two seasons.
Ante-post punters have had their fingers burned and wallets emptied by Portsmouth in the last couple of English League Two campaigns but Pompey do look like mounting a challenge this term and, if they start well and occupy one of the top ladder positions before the turn of the year, playing in front of the division’s largest crowds is likely to be a help rather than the hindrance that it has proved recently.
Tubbs has been a prolific marksman throughout his career in England’s lower levels. Tubbs dropped into the non-league scene after failing to make the league grade with either Bolton or Bournemouth, making a name for himself as a goal machine in Salisbury’s colours over half a dozen seasons. Crawley, then spending big to get out of what is known now as the English National League, broke its transfer record to acquire Tubbs from Salisbury and he rewarded its faith by scoring 49 goals in 65 appearances. Bournemouth recruited its former trainee from Crawley but his second spell with the Cherries did not work out and he ended up spending time on loan to Rotherham, Crawley and Wimbledon. Tubbs scored heavily for Crawley and Wimbledon, which is why Portsmouth lured him to Fratton Park with a two-and-a-half-year deal.
Three of Portsmouth’s major goal contributors from last term – Ryan Taylor, Jed Wallace and Craig Westcarr – have moved on to new pastures so they are not going to compete with Tubbs for the opportunities that Roberts is odds on to lay on. Adam McGurk has joined Portsmouth from Burton but there does not seem to be much depth to Pompey’s forward ranks so they are likely to concentrate on feeding Tubbs up front.
Tubbs led the English League Two Golden Boot race in the 2011-2012 season until Bournemouth, the team which he had supported as a child, lured him away from Crawley so he has what racing punters would call plenty of course form – he has won the race once and he could have won it twice. One rates him as the clear favourite for this term’s individual honour, with Bet365 underestimating his chance of success.
Matt Tubbs League Two Golden Boot
8th August 15:00 GMT
Where to Bet: Bet365
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