Matt Tubbs: I can fit into Paul Cook’s Pompey plan

Matt Tubbs. Picture: Colin Farmery
Matt Tubbs. Picture: Colin Farmery

Matt Tubbs has dismissed suggestions that he won’t fit into Paul Cook’s favoured Pompey formation as he insisted: I can play the lone role.

The 31-year-old striker joined the club last season and netted nine goals after his January move to take his tally to 24 in all competitions.

As long as I am getting support and I’m not isolated up there, I think I am more than capable of doing that job

Matt Tubbs

Although he struck up a productive partnership with Ryan Taylor last term in a two-man strikeforce, doubts have been raised over whether Tubbs is suited to the lone striker’s role in a 4-2-3-1 formation that the Blues boss looks set to employ.

The former Bournemouth man played alongside Jayden Stockley in a 4-4-2 in the first half at the Hawks last weekend before Pompey then switched their system after the break.

But even though the formation is often used with a striker more comfortable with his back to goal as a target man, Tubbs believes he can still show his worth if he gets the support and chances are created for him.

Tubbs said: ‘I played up front with Jayden last week and played in a 4-4-2 for a lot of my career.

‘But I’ve had stints where I have played up front on my own and I don’t mind it.

‘As long as I am getting support and I’m not isolated up there, I think I am more than capable of doing that job.

‘In that system, the support is the key.

‘With the way the manager wants to set up being so attacking with the three players behind the striker and the full-backs bombing on, I think we will create a lot of chances.

‘Ultimately, that is what I thrive on.’

With the club playing two games in two days, Tubbs will feature in either tonight’s trip to Bognor (7.30pm) or tomorrow’s visit to Gosport Borough (3pm) with Cook set to divide his squad.

But it remains to be seen whether the manager will opt to stick to his preferred team set-up or whether he will experiment with other ideas.

Perhaps the most important factor at this stage of the year is the fitness.

And Tubbs maintains that he will not be found wanting with his work-rate.

He said: ‘Playing that role, sometimes you have to do your work in the width of the 18-yard box and get in the box.

‘A lot of it is about timing runs and being the right place at the right time.

‘With the players the manager has brought in, I shouldn’t be short of chances.

‘But it’s not in my nature to be lazy. Even when you have a bad game, there is no excuse not to work hard.

‘If you do that for the team, the rewards will come.’

And Tubbs believes he is already feeling the benefit of a full pre-season programme.

He said: ‘Sometimes I’ve had injuries in pre-season at other clubs and it sets you back.

‘Players always say it but it is so important to get a good pre-season under your belt.

‘It really does set you up.’