OUT-OF-FAVOUR Cherries striker Matt Tubbs has revealed he is unlikely to return to Crawley next season unless the club is capable of mounting a sustained play-off challenge.

Tubbs, who has a year left on his contract with Cherries, could leave Dean Court - either permanently or on a season-long loan - after being told he does not feature in Eddie Howe’s plans.

But the 29-year-old, who netted eight times during a loan spell at Crawley this season, has played down suggestions he could return after initially hinting he may be open to going back.

Financial cutbacks over the past few months at the Sus-sex outfit, which resulted in 11 players being released this week, have forced Tubbs into a rethink.

The Verwood-raised hitman, who joined Cherries from Crawley for a sizeable fee in January 2012, has already had talks with several interested clubs in League One and below.

Tubbs told the Brighton Argus: “I am at a stage in my career where I want to have a good, solid season at a club which is going to be challenging for the play-offs or even going for automatic promotion.

“Throughout my career, I have been in teams at the top of the table.

I have won five promotions and there is no better feeling so that is something I want to have the chance to experience again next season.

“Crawley have released a lot of players and offered lads pay cuts so I will have to wait and see who they recruit in the summer before making a decision. I am keeping an open mind at the moment but I hope, for the club’s sake, they are able to recruit well.”

Tubbs accepts he is not part of Howe’s plans and says he would like his future to be sorted out before the start of pre-season to avoid a repeat of last season when he endured a miserable five months on loan at Rotherham.

He added: “It is a waiting game. I spoke briefly to the manager at Crawley before I left on Saturday and he said he was keen to get something done but I have not heard anything since.

“I have spoken to Eddie Howe and told him I want to play regular football next season. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that is not going to happen at Bournemouth as they have a fantastic squad and had a brilliant season.

“Eddie is quite happy with what he has got and is looking to bring in a couple more as well so I have been in the game long enough to know that I need to look elsewhere if I want to play.

“It is a case of waiting to see what happens but I would like things to be sorted sooner rather than later so I have a bit of clarity about where I will be playing.

There has been a bit of interest already so, hopefully, something can be done before pre-season begins.

“If I do move on loan again, I don’t want it to be like last season where I went just before the season started and it took me time to get settled into the dressing room. I also want to just go to one club for the whole season so I know where I am.”