Ray Crawford: Pompey striker must stay

Marc McNulty. Picture: Joe Pepler
Marc McNulty. Picture: Joe Pepler
  • Matt Tubbs has five goals in 17 matches this season, although nine of his appearances have come from the bench
  • McNulty has scored four goals in six Pompey games so far

Pompey must keep Marc McNulty in their striking ranks for the rest of the season.

That is the verdict of Ray Crawford, who rates the loanee above Matt Tubbs.

McNulty is more mobile than Tubbs. Tubbs is a goalscorer but not mobile, he doesn’t link up, he doesn’t show from the back, he is always running the other way

Ray Crawford

The Sheffield United striker’s Fratton Park spell officially ends on January 3.

However, according to assistant manager Leam Richardson, there is a gentleman’s agreement in place to extend that stay.

McNulty has netted four times in six appearances so far, while he laid on the winner for Adam McGurk in the weekend victory over Accrington Stanley.

Crawford, who registered nine goals in 19 appearances for the Blues before becoming Ipswich Town’s all-time leading goalscorer, is a fan of the Scotsman.

And he is eager to see the 23-year-old remain at Fratton Park beyond his initial loan arrangement.

Crawford said: ‘McNulty is a good player – and it is a must that we keep him.

‘I don’t think we will ever have enough money to buy him but we have to keep him here as long as we can.

‘In the form he is on, his parent club will want him back – unless he’s had some aggro up there and they don’t want him.

‘McNulty likes to drop off and drift out wide, he always wants the ball, is always open, is always showing for the ball.

‘He wants it wide because he’s got a bit of pace and that is where we got the goal against Accrington.

‘He held off, got the ball, went on a run and when he’s on those runs he is hard to stop. The lad is more mobile than Tubbs.

‘Tubbs is a goalscorer but not mobile, he doesn’t link up, he doesn’t show from the back, he is always running the other way.

‘I am not criticising because he is a great goalscorer but all you see is the number nine on his back.

‘As a front player you want to see his chest, you want him coming off, getting the ball down, knocking it and then going but Tubbs is not like that.

‘He is a drifter, just in and out the game, and gets himself free in the box.

‘In this division you cannot be like that, you’ve got to have people up front who really want the ball, to hold it up, give it and then go.

‘I feel sorry for Tubbs because I am a fan of his, he is goalscorer but he doesn’t do enough and I can see why Paul Cook doesn’t play him.’

At present Tubbs is sidelined by injury, paving the way for loanees McNulty and Caolan Lavery to stake first-team claims.

Lavery, who was denied permission by Sheffield Wednesday to feature in the FA Cup victory over Accrington, has scored three times in eight matches.

And Crawford enjoys watching both in Cook’s regular 4-2-3-1 system.

He added: ‘Those two are ideally suited in those attacking roles.

‘They are exciting to watch because you always think something is going to happen and they have pace.

‘There is a buzz when those two are playing together.’