John Gregory will make signing a ‘20-goal a season’ striker his number one priority this summer.
Reds had gone six hours without a goal before Billy Clarke’s penalty against Port Vale on Tuesday night.
But it was again a case of missed chances as a 2-1 reverse made it four straight League One defeats, after the side drew a blank against Oldham, Sheffield United and Preston.
Crawley boss Gregory though, says the goalscorer he’s desperately seeking could already be at the club, and he’s confident Bournemouth ace Matt Tubbs is keen to turn his loan stay into a permanent one.
Early talks with the player and his agent have taken place, though with the finances of any future deal still uncertain, Gregory is already on the look out for a new frontman should Tubbs return to the Cherries at the end of the season.
Speaking ahead of the Port Vale game the Reds boss said: “A goalscorer is what we’ve been missing, that player to take that one chance in a match, that’s what’s been the difference between defeat and victory for us in the last three matches.
“That is apart from Matty Tubbs, who we rely on and who’s scored seven goals in 11 games for us which is a fantastic return. He didn’t play (on Saturday) and it showed how much we miss him.”
Using the example of how important Luis Suarez’s goals have been to Liverpool, Gregory said: “Having a goalscorer in the team always makes you confident of winning. That’s been a problem for me so it’s the most important addition I can make before next season.
“The rest of the squad is strong, especially the defence, so what we need is somebody we can rely on to get us 20 goals a season.”
Clarke’s goal on Tuesday saw him draw level with Tubbs on seven, while the next highest scorer this season is defender Joe Walsh on five, with Jamie Proctor and Andy Drury below that with three each.
It shows the lack of match-winners in the side and is the reason Gregory is so desperate to hold on to Crawley legend Tubbs.
“We would love to have Matthew here again next year and I know it’s something he wants as well,” Gregory said.
“We’ve had discussions with Matt and his agent, everyone knows the situation but ultimately it will come down to discussions between the board of directors at both clubs.”
Reds tried to sign prolific striker Lee Gregory on January transfer deadline day, and though boss Gregory remains interested, his club Halifax Town have slapped a £1m price tag on their prized asset and a number of other clubs are closely monitoring the situation.
Gregory would not rule out another bid for the Conference joint top scorer, and said that with finances increasingly tight, money would only be spent on a striker with a high resale value, otherwise he may look at free transfers.