TOM LOVE (@TomLove_18) has been tasked with tackling the ante-post Top Goalscorer market ahead of the 2019/20 League One season.
WLB Season Preview 2019/20 | League One: Top Goalscorer
Of all divisions this season, I think League One could be one of the tightest Top Goalscorer heat to call. There are nine players shorter than 20/1 in the running and I could honestly make an argument for at least six of those front-runners.
James Norwood heads the market at 8/1 and it’s no surprise to see last season’s League Two golden boot winner as the ante-post favourite. He fired Tranmere to promotion but it’s with a divisional rival who he will be playing his football with this term after recently-relegated Ipswich snapped the star striker up at the start of summer.
As much as I like Norwood, I don’t fancy Ipswich to go all that well and I’m not a fan of manager Paul Lambert. He’s already played down any optimism around Suffolk and moaned about not being able to get the amount of players in he wants – only four have arrived at Portman Road with 14 departing. I’ll leave any Tractor Boys-based bets alone.
Aside from Norwood, you have the likes of Will Grigg and Charlie Wyke at Sunderland who could stake their claim. I’d err more towards Grigg if you’re sweet on the Black Cats.
Rotherham will be pinning their hopes on record signing Freddie Ladapo to do the business but he divides opinion. John Marquis is always up there but how he will settle into Darren Moore’s side is a bit of an unknown.
Meanwhile, Brett Pitman is always good for a goal but Kenny Jackett didn’t have him as a constant starter last season, whilst Mo Eisa is a standout signing for Peterborough who have a good record with strikers. But the former Cheltenham hitman has only had one major goalscoring season and there is another Posh player who holds more appeal …
Ivan Toney (16/1 Betfred)
Peterborough have a penchant for picking up good strikers before turning a decent profit when selling them on. The culture that is engrained London Road club is to play attacking football, getting their forward players scoring as many goals as possible to enhance their value.
It’s a clever recruitment strategy and there are plenty of examples, the likes of Britt Assombalonga, Dwight Gayle, Jack Marriott, Connor Washington, Lee Tomlin and Craig Mackail-Smith off the top of my head that showcase their approach, and I’m sure there are more to come. Posh seem to have faith in Ivan Toney being the next in line for a big season.
Toney seems like a player who is confident in his own ability and at 23 he’s at a good age. In all honestly, I could be being a bit biased having seen him regularly score and look at least a Championship-level player when playing against Bradford.
Consistency is the only question mark against his name; there’s plenty of competition at Posh with Eisa and Matt Godden all gunning to be top dog but Toney has the raw ability to top the lot.
I’m expecting Posh to be in the goals and they have a wealth of midfielders who can help create chances. Serhat Tasdemir has come from Fylde with rave reviews and looks a classic Peterborough pick up, George Cooper will be hoping to make his mark, Siriki Dembele is one of the biggest direct threats in the division and club hero George Boyd has returned to add know-how. They look like a top heavy side and that’s a positive when looking at goals.
Toney notched 23 in all competitions last season, but with a stronger squad and added competition, I think he will thrive.
Jonson Clarke-Harris (40/1 each-way William Hill)
One player that had a terrific second half of the season in 2018/19 was Bristol Rovers’ forward Jonson Clarke-Harris. He notched 11 goals in 16 games after joining on-loan in January and under then interim boss Graham Coughlin he found a home.
JCH’s goals helped the Gas survive and Coughlin built the team around the centre-forward to his own individual benefit, but also the team’s collective advantage.
One manoeuvre that has seen an upturn in his goalscoring output is his positioning on the pitch. He’s a big unit and many managers played him just as a target man to try and bring others into play just because of his size. That’s not his game and Coughlin has encouraged Clarke-Harris to operate with his front to goal where service is more fruitful.
That switch saw the 25-year-old enjoy a purple goalscoring patch and more is expected this time around with Rovers having brought in wing-back Luke Leahy from Walsall to aid the supply. With the likes of Ollie Clarke and Liam Sercombe also in situ, JCG should relish his focal point role – he’s as short as 25/1 elsewhere so the 40/1 (William Hill) offer is worth chancing each-way with the firm paying four places at a quarter of the odds.
League One 2019/20 – Ivan Toney to be Top Goalscorer (16/1 Betfred)
League One 2019/20 – Jonson Clarke-Harris to be Top Goalscorer (40/1 each-way William Hill)