As the English football season begins to reach its conclusion it is not just the League Two table that begins to form a meaningful shape but the League Two golden boot competition also draws to a climax. Currently there are two front runners for the coveted prize of ‘golden boot winner’; Adam le Fondre and Lee Hughes. Despite both strikers plying their trade in the lowest tier of English ‘League’ football they both are players that have the ability to play at a higher level.
Rotherham’s Adam le Fondre currently sits at the top of the list after striking an impressive 22 goals in 32 games this season for ‘The Robins’. Le Fondre’s form has seen him become one of the most wanted strikers in the lower leagues with Peterborough United being heavily rumoured with him in the January transfer window seeking him out as a replacement for Aaron McLean, who has stated his desire to leave ‘The Posh’.
Le Fondre started his career at Stockport where he made his debut at just 17 years old. He went on to appear 63 times for ‘The Hatters’ and scored 19 goals in the process. In 2007 Stockport loaned le Fondre out to Rochdale where he had a successful period and this lead to him completing a permanent deal at Spotland. He went on to appear 97 times in Rochdale’s colours before, current club, Rotherham United signed the talented striker. His work-rate has really enamoured him to the Don Valley faithful and his goal scoring form has really come to the forefront this season as the club aim to secure promotion into League Two.
Lee Hughes joined Notts County this summer whilst ‘The Magpies’ revolution was in full flow. With promises the club would reach the Premier League within 5 years and with the additions of Sven-Göran Eriksson and Kasper Schmiechel ‘County’ were expected to comfortably achieve promotion as champions. However things haven’t been going to plan for ‘The Magpies’ despite currently sitting in the play-offs they are perilously close to administration, if reports are to be believed, after Munto finance sold the club and look set to lose some of their stars including Hughes who has scored 21 goals for the club this season.
Lee Hughes has had a troubled career to say the least. He was imprisoned for four years after causing ‘death by dangerous driving’ in 2004 and sentenced to 6 years in prison. This meant Hughes would miss most of the prime of his career; he was playing in the Premier League with West Bromwich Albion at the time of his imprisonment. Following his release from prison he signed for Oldham Athletic where he played 55 games and scored 25 goals. His time there ended in a sour note though when his personality off the pitch was put in the spotlight again; he, allegedly, was involved in a brawl with manager, at the time, John Sheridan. As a result of this incident Hughes was loaned out to Blackpool. Despite the 33 year old coming to the end of his career he is lethal in-front of goal and if it wasn’t for his actions of the field Hughes would, arguably, have had an impressive career at the top level.
Three goals off the pace is Rochdale’s Chris O’Grady who has been surprisingly potent in-front of goal this season, his partner, Chris Dagnall, is a further two goals back striking 17 times for ‘The Dale’. Rochdale are the division’s top scorers and both strikers will feel they have played an integral part in their clubs push for promotion this campaign; Rochdale are currently six points clear at the top of the league. Brett Pitman, like Dagnall, is on 17 goals for the season and has been rumoured with a move to a higher level. Peterborough United reportedly had an offer for Pitman rejected by Bournemouth in January.
Despite Hughes currently being second in the race for the League Two Golden Boot he, in my opinion, is the most likely winner of the competition. His natural goal-scoring ability combined with his experience at the top level will stand him in good stead and the fact he has played 27 games for Notts County this season, 4 less than Le Fondre’s 31 appearances for Rotherham, means his goals-to-games ratio is better than Le Fondre. This may not be Le Fondre’s season but he is a very talented player and I fully expect him to be one of the hottest properties in the lower leagues this summer.