Pompey: Matt Tubbs will be a lone danger

Matt Tubbs. Picture: Joe Pepler
Matt Tubbs. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey's Brett Pitman scores a penalty in the Blues' 1-1 draw against Walsall at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South.

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Matt Tubbs has been told he can succeed as Pompey’s lone striker.

Blues boss Paul Cook is convinced League Two’s reigning leading scorer can continue to thrive at the head of his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation.

Questions have been raised whether a forward of Tubbs’ physical stature can be effective in a role which is often perceived as suitable for more imposing figures.

It’s a theory shrugged off by Cook, who points to the success story of Eoin Doyle at Chesterfield as a fine example.

The Irishman netted 25 times as the one up front for the Spireites last season, before clinching a move to Cardiff City in February 2015.

And the Pompey boss is adamant Tubbs can similarly succeed in the system.

He said: ‘When people ask me about Tubbsy, I respond with “Eoin Doyle”. End of story.

‘At the start of last season Chesterfield fans told me we would be relegated with Eoin starting as the only striker.

‘He is now playing in the Championship after getting 25 goals and that speaks for itself.

‘Doyle is a similar build to Tubbsy and people said he couldn’t play up front on his own.

‘Tubbsy will get first shot at it and by the time we go into the season’s games we will have him integrated in how we want to play.

‘His job is to prey on weakness and to continually occupy positions to score goals.

‘Without a doubt, without a shadow of a doubt, the thing about needing a big, physically strong player up there is a myth. You need to see goals from whoever is up there.

‘Tubbsy is probably better inside the 18-yard box than he is out, it is just the way it is.

‘So, in general, I would like to think we are going to create chances and Tubbsy is the goalscorer everyone knows he is and will score them.

‘By September or October we should be talking about how Tubbsy is doing great and if we add another one or two in those areas how strong are we going to be.

‘I believe if you are going to be a team dominating possession then you don’t have to worry about going long quick.

‘We will be built to try to dominate the ball and play. If we do go long quick, the striker doesn’t have to challenge for the ball, we are doing that to get territorial advantage.

‘These are the things we work on in the pre-season.’

A right-back and at least one other striker are Cook’s priority areas to strengthen.

As for Tubbs, he will get the match appearances to shine.

Cook added: ‘It’s hard when a new manager comes in because people will always be a bit wary.

‘I am sure Tubbsy was the same but, like the rest of the players, their job is to get their fitness levels right to play for Portsmouth.

‘There is no player in our team who can guarantee I will start them. These lads will get first go at it and then it is up to themselves.’