TOM LOVE (@TomLove_18) has been tasked with tackling the ante-post Top Goalscorer market ahead of the 2019/20 League Two season.
WLB Season Preview 2019/20 | League Two: Top Goalscorer
League Two is probably the most intriguing division to call in the EFL. Naturally the players that head the Top Goalscorer market belong to the sides that are the shortest to achieve promotion.
Bradford are the ante-post top dogs and three of their forwards are no bigger than 16/1 – James Vaughan (10/1), Eoin Doyle (14/1) and Clayton Donaldson (16/1) are all in the mix up but I think their artificially short prices may be best to swerve. The bookmakers are indicating that all three will score plenty but spread evenly, I’ll leave the Bantams trio alone.
The former Aberdeen striker helped catapult the Manchester-based club into the EFL with 21 goals in 38 National League outings and his pedigree means he should be able to make the step up easily. He’s sure to be up there but 10/1 quotes could be a tad short for an untried side in the fourth-tier.
What I can’t understand is how highly-rated Salford strike-partner Emmanuel Dieseruvwe is in the market – the Ammies forward is as short as 16/1 in places despite only netting seven times during the promotin campaign and a grand total of 12 goals since 2012.
Someone who does warrant skinny quotes is Mansfield’s new man Nicky Maynard. He bagged 21 in 37 for promoted Bury last season and the ambitious Stags have swooped to take him from the fire-sale at Gigg Lane. Town are well-fancied to mount another promotion push but new gaffer John Dempster is untested and Maynard – who revelled under Ryan Lowe – hasn’t really done it consistently in recent alternative seasons.
I’m instead going to focus my attention on some longer-priced options that I think are standout value and back them each-way, paying four places at a quarter of the odds. At the quotes on offer, you’ll still get a hefty pay-out if any of my three recommendations finish in the top four of League Two’s goalscoring charts.
Nicky Ajose (50/1 BetVictor)
One of the standout prices in the market is this. Exeter made Nicky Ajose their star signing this summer and it’s a player with good pedigree, joining a team that always seem to be in the play-off shake up.
Ajose is a striker that seems to have been about for ages so it was to my surprise to see he is still only 27-years-old – arguably the prime time for a footballer. His Wikipedia club list is longer than my arm having been passed about on-loan from Scunthorpe to Swindon, and Chesterfield to Crawley, but he has now signed for a club that he can call a permanent home.
There’s a decent crop of players that can help supply Ajose. Nicky Law, Lee Holmes, Randell Williams and Matt Jay have enough of a threat and creativity to help Exeter enjoy another strong season. It looks like the former Charlton man will be a guaranteed starter and I’d also presume he will be on spot-kick duty, which can enhance his goal tally.
Injuries and inconsistency in getting regular game-time has been to his detriment but in his last full season Ajose managed to notch 24 goals in 38 games at Swindon, which shows that if he stays fit and plays regularly he can be right up there.
BetVictor go 50/1 – which looks huge given he’s half the price with most bookmakers. Playing him each-way hen will give you a great value run for your money.
Aaron Collins (66/1 each-way SkyBet)
Forest Green will be an interesting team again this summer and even though they reached the play-offs last time out, Mark Cooper has decided to shake-up his squad. Their main three strikers have all departed with Christian Doidge going to Hibs, whereas Tahvon Campbell and Reuben Reid have both joined near neighbours Cheltenham.
The Green Devils have brought in former Newport man Aaron Collins though after he had an impressive second half of the season at Morecambe, scoring eight times in 15 outings. He looks like he is going to be the main striker at the New Lawn and after having a few loans, he now has a permanent home and this will give him a great confidence boost.
Collins’ early days at Newport attracted Wolves who took him on but he found chances few and far between because the Old Gold had the likes of Benik Afobe and Nouha Dicko ahead of him in the pecking order. But it shows that a big club thought he had the ingredients to become a decent player in the past.
Collins is at a good age now and can be optimistic about the season ahead. He’s a good one-on-one finisher and equally adept as a penalty box poacher. Rovers have the likes of Dayle Grubb, Carl Winchester, Joseph Mills and George Williams who can create the chances and Collins should be backed to put them away regularly.
Kurtis Guthrie (80/1 SkyBet)
One team that I think have been overpriced in the promotion reckoning in League Two is Stevenage. Their kits might be awful but their squad is far from it.
Dino Maamria is an interesting character, and him along with his coaching staff (which includes former England women’s manager Mark Sampson), have been talking about the aim being promotion openly in pre-season, as have the new arrivals at the Lamex.
Those incomings include defenders Chris Stokes and Tyler Denton from Bury and Leeds respectively. I’d presume the former will slot in as a left centre-half in a 5-3-2 with the latter playing as a left wing-back. Boro have also brought Dean Parrett back to the club, which is a nice pick up; alongside Ben Kennedy and Joel Byrom, the midfield looks a strong prospect.
At the top of the pitch, Stevenage have a few different threats, including non-league hot-shot and graduate of Jamie Vardy’s V9 academy, Danny Newton. He’s likely to partner the rangy figure of Kurtis Guthrie.
Naturally, most will look at Newton as the main goalscoring threat but I think Guthrie has more in his armoury. He’s 6 ft3’ so he’s going to be targeted from corners and set-piece situations. He’s also good with the ball at his feet as he’s once more shown this pre-season.
Last term Guthrie bagged 14 goals in 34 appearances, which is a more than respectable record. With a better squad surrounding him, he can get 20+ goals and give each-way punters a run for their money.
The ex-Colchester man has enjoyed a strong pre-season and has already been cut from 150/1 to almost half that price – punters are clearly responding to his impressive summer. He is a player who splits opinion but there’s plenty of midfielders ahead of him in the betting, whereas he’s an all-round striker for a team I fancy to go well.