League Two will be as competitive as ever this season with many teams having recruited strongly over the summer. However, a few clubs have them certain individuals that have the potential to make their campaign shine. We look at the Top 5 players who could be huge forces in the division next year in the goal scoring leader-boards.
5) Craig Mackail-Smith
Having played 2 seasons in the division before in his Career, Craig Mackail-Smith returns although this time with Luton Town. John Still recruited the 28 year old at the beginning of the month, bringing 11 years of experience and 140 career goals to Kenilworth Road. Surprisingly, Mackail-Smith dropped 2 tiers, as he was playing his football at Brighton before signing, where he managed just 21 goals in 110 appearances for the Sussex side. Prior to his 4 year spell at The Seagulls, he was somewhat of a cult hero at Peterborough United, tallying 81 goals in 185 games including 2 seasons managing 22+. So it’s clear he has the ability as he’s played in the Championship, League One and of course League Two. Managing to stay fit will be the only obstacle in the way between him scoring 5 or 25. Personally, i see him having a blistering season with the Hatters in which they are themselves questing for glory, aiming for the 3rd tier.
4) Matt Tubbs
The man who many can expect to score goals this season is Portsmouth’s Matt Tubbs. Last year Tubbs netted 22 goals in one of his most successful season’s to date, scoring 12 for Neal Eardley’s AFC Wimbledon and Portsmouth, who he signed permanently for in January. The Salisbury born striker has had a great career, starting out at hometown club Salisbury City where he was vigorously good in the conference. Early doors he showed signs of panache by tallying 107 goals in 240 games for the Conference side. Since 2010, he’s only ever been on the rise, securing moves to Crawley in 2010/11 and 3rd Tier side Bournemouth the season following. Amidst his time in professional football, Matt has played 78 games in League Two with 34 goals a long the way. It’s safe to say Tubbs is competitively brilliant at this level, getting himself into the right position, showing the hunger to score that all great goalscorers posses. It will only be another brilliant year for Pompey’s key man, if he stay’s fit and plays regularly.
3) John Akinde
At the tender age of just 26, Akinde has already learnt his trade at a handful of clubs, succeeding and scoring goals. However last year at Barnet is where he really found his feet and hit the ground running, rounding of their promotion season scoring 31 goals in 45 games. He has that crucial ‘Experience’ that is ever so required when coming up with a promoted team. It hasn’t been a breeze for the South London born striker as he hasn’t had the stability at a club that could have really developed him more. His previous clubs include Portsmouth, Crawley, Dagenham, Bristol Rovers, Brentford and Wycombe, for whom he didn’t manage that many goals, a mere 19 in 139 games. None the less, the last 2 years have been highly successful, so he inevitably has the confidence which could help him carry on his exquisite goal scoring tally. Martin Allen like’s to have a Physical style of play, winning every loose ball and winning the nitty-gritty tussles, so the services of John Akinde could help them survive next year.
2) Paul McCallum
Coming into the new campaign off the back of a terrific pre-season, McCallum is currently in fine form and will be hoping to transit his finesse into League Two. Coming through the ranks at West Ham, he never really grabbed the chance by the foot being loaned out on 6 different occasions. He’s had spells with Rochdale, AFC Wimbledon & Portsmouth to name a few, however these loan spells have never really entailed success. Currently, he’s played 38 games in the football league, covering 3 years and managing a mere 10 goals. So why is he on the list? Leyton Orient boss Ian Hendon snapped up the 22 year old in July, as he was his West Ham Youth team coach so he knows the qualities and traits Paul posses. It’s obvious Hendon has substantial faith in him and all he needs is the right amount of playing time, stability and a manager in whom he can work acutely with, which is the sole reason he could have a blistering season where he fires the East London side back into the 3rd tier.
1) Jamie Cureton
Some class him as ‘Mr Football League’ seeing as he’s played for the majority of the teams in England, but Jamie Cureton is still scoring goals at 39 years of age. Having played for 13 clubs over a 22 year period, he’s still clinical in front of goal managing 19 for Dagenham & Redbridge last season. With years of experience in every division, the majority of his career has been around Leagues One & Two. He’s no stranger to the division and fitness wise, if he can keep up with the pace of his young Dagenham side and the rest of the league for that matter, we could well see another impressive campaign of goals from the Bristonian. Incredibly, he appeared in all bar 1 of the Daggers league games last time out, which for an ‘old man’ in footballing terms is immense so it’s clear he’s a key asset to Wayne Burnett’s team. It could sadly be Cureton’s last year in the professional game, which he’ll be hoping to guide the Essex side to League Two safety by netting plenty in due course. With over 700 appearances and more than 250 goals to his prestigious name, he’ll sure be up for adding plenty more.