‘Natural’ Craddock tipped to hit the goal trail

Pompey new-boy Tom Craddock
Pompey new-boy Tom Craddock

Guy Whittingham has backed his ‘natural finisher’ to plunder the goals for Pompey next season.

Tom Craddock joined the Blues on Monday after his contract at Oxford was not renewed.

The 26-year-old, who penned a two-year deal at Fratton Park, has a prolific and highly-impressive record at League Two level.

He netted 12 times this season alone, including four goals in one match against Accrington.

In addition, he scored 38 goals in 86 matches at Luton, which included a season in the Blue Square Bet Premier.

Now Craddock has arrived at Fratton Park – and Whittingham is confident the goals will flow.

The Blues boss said: ‘Tom’s got a good goal-scoring record at the level we are at and that is the reason he is here.

‘Goals get you success and that is what we are looking for.

‘He has done it consistently and that is one of the things that attracts you when you look at the figures.

‘But I have seen him play a couple of times this season and I like the way he is as a player as well.

‘I would say he’s a natural finisher.

‘Anybody who gets the amount of goals he has in the past has got to be able to finish without thinking.

If that’s what you call a natural finisher then he definitely is one.

‘Tom has good movement, is one that will run the channels, get in behind, play off shoulders but he’s decent on the ball as well so he’s a bit of a mixture.

‘He’s got some movement, though, which will cause defences problems at this level.’

Craddock came through the ranks at Middlesbrough, making five appearances, four of which came in the Premier League.

He had short loan spells at Wrexham and Hartlepool before scoring four goals in eight games at Luton.

A permanent switch followed and he continued to bang in the goals until a move to Oxford in August 2010.

He netted 28 goals in 88 appearances for the U’s, although fell out of favour in the latter half of this season.

Now he is at Pompey and Whittingham insists he has the right attributes.

He added: ‘Tom’s contract was up and with him being 26, he felt it was time to move on.

‘Anybody we are trying to get this season has to understand what League Two is like – and he does.’