Why Pompey target and ex-Scunthorpe and Lincoln striker Kyle Wootton is ready made for League One after immense Notts County rise

Notts County hotshot striker Kyle Wootton is ready-made for League One.

By Sam Cox
Monday, 29th November 2021, 3:04 pm

That’s the thoughts of Nottingham Post journalist Leigh Curtis, who believes the Pompey target wouldn’t struggle in stepping up two divisions if he were to arrive in PO4.

And the 25-year-old could be the answer to Danny Cowley’s goalscoring woes after netting 46 goals in 100 appearances in black and white.

He’s bagged 10 goals already this term, but struggled in the Football League with previous club Scunthorpe United.

The striker only scored 11 goals in 78 appearances at Glanford Park while enduring a number of loan spells in non-league football.

But Curtis believes now’s the right time for him to step back into the professional game and will have no trouble in doing so.

Speaking to The News, he said: ‘Absolutely (he can step up to League One).

‘I think sometimes we can get a little carried away because I saw some comments saying “he wasn’t prolific at Scunthorpe”, but sometimes you have to let players go out and develop, because sometimes systems suit some players better than others and sometimes players just find themselves at the right team.

Kyle Wootton celebrates one of his Notts County goals. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

‘I think he’ll get 20 goals this season so if you take that into account into what he’s achieved in the last three - he’ll be reaching nearly 60 goals in three seasons, which is a terrific return. Can he play in the Football League? Yes absolutely, there’s no question about it.’

The former Lincoln forward’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season and his immense form has prompted the Blues to monitor him closely, with Cowley conducting a scouting mission to see him in the flesh.

And although he didn’t score in the FA Cup clash with Rochdale, the club haven’t reportedly been deterred from his services.

Due to his contract situation, Curtis explained how the Magpies will struggle to keep Wootton, with the club yet to open talks over a new deal.

He continued: ‘There will be competition for him but Pompey are a big club and Danny is a fantastic manager.

‘So if you’re a player wanting to move on somewhere then I’m sure it would be a move that ticks a lot of boxes.

‘There are a lot of clubs looking at him and I think that, unless Notts make him an offer he can’t refuse, it’ll be difficult for them to keep him with every week and every goal that passes.

‘It’ll be hard because the power is basically with Kyle now. In January he’s free to talk with other clubs because he is over 24, so that gives him the option to strike a pre-contract deal. But he may want to leave it because the club are in the middle of a promotion race.

‘He might not want to affect what’s going on - unless someone comes in January for him, which gives Notts a decision to make.

‘If a club make Notts an offer they can’t refuse then they’ll have to take it, because they would risk losing him for free next summer.

‘His contract is up in the summer and there’s no plans to open talks just yet. The club loves him and vice versa, but I think in this game we all know that if a great offer comes in then it’ll be very difficult for him to turn down.’

With Pompey’s fruitless pursuit of Jayden Stockley in the summer, it’s clear to see that Cowley would be keen to add a target man to his forward line.

And although Wootton fits the profile at 6ft 1in, Curtis expressed how he’s much more than just a big man.

He concluded: ‘He’s much more than that (a target man). He can play that role definitely and people would say that “Kyle is an out-and-out target man”, but I think that does him a little bit of a disservice, to be honest, because he’s not just your stereotypical big man up front.

‘He is improving again massively in terms of getting the ball into feet, shielding the ball and bringing others into play.

‘He can run with the ball and travel, he’s got good feet and against Rochdale where Danny watched him, he was doing drag backs and little tricks and flicks, so he has got that ability – and he’s getting better all the time.

‘He’s only 25 so he’s not even reached the peak of his career yet, and I think somebody would be getting a very good striker if they were to sign him. He times his runs well and he really has the full box of tricks.

‘If you wanted to play him as an out-and-out centre forward then he could do that job, but to label him as a target man is perhaps not taking into account a lot of the things that he is good at.

‘Another thing he does is (lead the press) because he is mobile. A lot of out-and-out target men usually play that role with their back to goal, and Danny Cowley will know as he had one of the best in that role with Matt Rhead.

‘But Kyle is much more mobile than that and a better all-round footballer.’

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