Former Portsmouth striker believes former side Crawley Town have a chance against AFC Bournemouth in the FA Cup

Matt Tubbs is the only player to have scored for Crawley Town in the FA Cup fourth round – and he’s done it twice.

Monday, 25th January 2021, 6:04 pm

Tubbs scored 66 goals in 96 games for the Reds.

He also played 46 games for Bournemouth and is a lifelong Cherries fan.

So when it comes to AFC Bournemouth v Crawley in the FA Cup fourth round – and echoing the words of Billy Bob Thornton’s character in Armageddon after he introduces Jason Isaac’s Dr Ronald Qunicy as the smartest man on the planet – ‘You might want to listen to him’.

Matt Tubbs holds off Chris Smalling in action at Old Trafford.
Matt Tubbs holds off Chris Smalling in action at Old Trafford.

Tubbs is a legend at Crawley Town, twice getting them to the FA Cup fifth round and twice his goals being vital in leading them to consecutive promotions under Steve Evans.

And when the Reds face The Cherries, the striker will be glued to his TV watching two of his former sides face off in this season’s fourth round.

Tubbs, 36, said: “I was really excited [when the draw came out]. I was just watching it to see who they were both playing in the next round and when Bournemouth came out followed by Crawley, I thought this would be a great game – not only for me to follow but because of the fact both teams are doing well at the moment.

Steve Evans with Matt Tubbs at Old Trafford

“I admire Crawley because I really enjoyed my time at the club – it was an 18-month spell that I will never forget. I think any player who has a successful spell at a club will always admire them and support them.

“And it’s really pleasing to see them doing really well again.”

But does he think the Reds can pull off another shock, just like they did against Leeds United in the third round?

“Yes I definitely think Crawley have a chance against Bournemouth. It’s the FA Cup, it’s always full of upsets,” he said: “I’m sure not many people would have given them a hope against Leeds and they won 3-0 comfortably.

“Crawley will go there with the mindset of nothing to lose as Bournemouth will be expected to win, but play and have a game plan like they did against Leeds and they have every chance. I’m on the fence regarding the scoreline but I think it’ll be a close game.”

And he sees no reason why Reds can’t get promoted. “I think Crawley have had a great first half of the season and they are playing some really good football. If the players have the belief that they can get promoted, I’m sure they will be there or thereabouts come the end of the season. They’ve got themselves in a really good position to push on in the next couple of months.”

Having worked with Reds head coach John Yems and played with Lee Bradbury, Tubbs believes Crawley have the right combination to take them places.

He said: “Yemsy was a part of Bournemouth’s staff when I was there so I’ve known him for a few years, he’s a man that loves football and I know he loves the club. I’m just pleased he’s settled in really well there and is doing a great job. He’s honest and to the point and players need that nowadays.

“Bradders, who I was a teammate of at Bournemouth – then he became manager – he’s another man who loves his football, and with those two leading the club they will have a great chance of success.”

Tubbs signed for Bournemouth from Crawley for a then-record fee and gained promotion to the Championship with them.

But what can Crawley expect from their Championship opponents now? Tubbs said: “Bournemouth move the ball really well and attack really fast with the players they have, so Crawley will need to defend well against them. They seem to have players that can score from all over the pitch so it’ll be an exciting game to watch.”

As previously stated, Tubbs has history with the FA Cup and Crawley Town with so many good memories. But what are his highlights?

He said: “I think I can list a few to be honest! One being the FA Cup run where we played at Old Trafford. That was an amazing experience and one that I’ll never forget.

“Also, winning the league in the manner we did. We were a lot of points behind Wimbledon due to our cup run and after that we just went from strength to strength and won the league with a record number of points, which still stands I believe. And the dressing room, we had an amazing team spirit then, everyone had each other’s back and that goes a long way in football.”

But if Tubbs’ side from 2010/11 were to take on Yems’ class of 2020/21, who would win? Tubbs said: “Really tough question, that is – both managers have totally different styles of play. I would definitely pay money to watch it though. I’ll say 2-2. Sitting on the fence here!”