MATT Tubbs took top honours at 16/1 in the Top Goalscorer race last season. Here, Anytime Goalscorer genius and Football League aficionado Gavin Horsfall (@GHorsfall) talks us through his best bets to be crowned 2015/16’s leading marksman.
League Two | Top Goalscorer
Profiling contenders for top honours in the League Two market isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, you know. Cast your mind back two seasons and you’d be forgiven for thinking the answer only lies in the notebooks of lower league scouts as Sam Winnall followed up some short-term spells on loan from Wolves with 23 goals for Scunthorpe, Winnall himself chased home by Scott Hogan, who had previously been with Hyde in the Conference.
Fast forward a year though and the Top Scorer charts are dominated by marksmen with a lifetime’s experience in the lower divisions. Matt Tubbs, Jamie Cureton and Marc Richards have all bought the t-shirt before, are all aged over 30 and, perhaps significantly, all played for clubs who finished outside the top-ten. That latter point suggests we can spread our net far and wide when it comes to identifying candidates for this year’s renewal.
No League Two goalscorer preview would be complete without a flawed West Ham youth product and Leyton Orient look like they have a good one in Paul McCallum. The tall 21-year old ticks the boxes for league experience after several short-term loan spells at Wimbledon, Aldershot and Torquay while he spent an eventful second half of last season on-loan at Portsmouth, receiving a seven-match ban for raising his hand to the referee after seeing red against Southend.
A move back to London looks a good fit for an Orient side that admittedly, could be anything under Ian Hendon this year but represent a great opportunity for McCallum to refocus after his antics last year. Expect our man to be seen chasing down lost causes across the O’s front line and making use of his aerial presence at set-pieces. The early 66/1 has all been snapped up (wink wink) but there’s still plenty of mileage in the current prices.
Portsmouth detractors are out in force with the south-coast side favourites for promotion for the third successive year. For what it’s worth, I think their one to eleven looks by far the best in the division, my only reservation might just be the manager who, despite getting Chesterfield promoted two seasons back never quite dominated the division as the figures suggest (anyone who saw them during that campaign should agree).
Eoin Doyle and Marc Richards struggled to reach double figures in that Chesterfield side which is bad news for Matt Tubbs as Cook likes to employ just the one striker up front and who’ll now have Adam McGurk to contend with for a starting place. Cook’s recruitment strategy has echoes of that Chesterfield campaign where he’ll look to plenty of contributions from midfield; Gary Roberts, Kai Naismith and Kyle Bennett look an imposing ‘three’ behind the ‘one’. Gary Roberts is the pick here, a relatively injury-free season should see the 31-year-old build on his previous campaign at this level where he finished just two goals outside of the each-way places.
Keith Curle has been one of the busier managers in the division as Carlisle look to improve following what could easily have been a second relegation in as many years. There certainly look like goals in the side despite the loss of Kyle Dempsey to Huddersfield.
Jabo Ibehre could turn out to be a perfect foil for Charlie Wyke who has set himself the target of being Carlisle’s first 20-goal striker since Karl Hawley almost a decade ago. There’s plenty to like about his chances for achieving that as well; he has quickly racked up 50+ appearances at this level and had his best season to date last time out scoring 10 for Hartlepool and Carlisle.
A settled pre-season at a club he now knows is another tick in the box for me, as is his undoubted confidence. Expect to see the 22-year-old keeping defenders busy and not passing much when he gets a sight of goal – just the kind of attributes top-scorer punters like.
League Two Top Goalscorer – Paul McCallum (20/1 each-way Bet365)
League Two Top Goalscorer – Gary Roberts (40/1 each-way)
League Two Top Goalscorer – Charlie Wyke (50/1 each-way Bet365)
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