Blackpool’s first three signings have all come from Leagues One and Two, whereas January’s signings all came from higher divisions, indicating an initial change in tact from the club this window. However, with the Championship season still in full swing, there are surely a number of players on Critchley and the board’s minds who are out of contract later this month.
In a similar style to our League Two Focus, we have reviewed potential targets for the club by applying a criteria for the search in the Championship, with a key focus on players who will shortly be out of contract. This time we try to take age as a factor for consideration as this is the business model that we know the recruitment team and Neil Critchley are looking to adopt. Rather than looking at the big hitters in the league above who are surely likely to secure bigger moves, we’re looking for players who haven’t featured very much for their current team and are likely to move on, but possess the traits that our new coach will define. In short: passing ability, personality traits such as leadership skills and out of contract players who we could persuade are in the mix.
Bobby Kamwa – Leeds (U23) – Midfielder – 5 Appearances
This player has been deemed ‘the next big thing’ and recently penned a two-year deal with Leeds. After speaking to several Leeds fanatics they have expressed his raw talents, which needs further nuturing on loan to give him further experience at a higher level. At only 20 years old, the midfielder has made an instant impact in the U23’s team after his injury, scoring 3 goals in 5 appearances. Surely, this one could be on the Critchley cards having had experience at that level (even though Leeds are not officially in the Premier League just yet) at U23 level or first team for that matter.
Omar Bogle – Free Agent – Forward – 11 Appearances (Cardiff City)
Known for being a strong centre forward, who can bring others into play, it could be an option if the club is unsuccessful in the pursuit of Jerry Yates. There have been on-going rumours about Omar and Blackpool, whether these have any credibility time will tell. The former England C international hasn’t had any serious game time since his Grimsby days, but is only 26 and under Critchley could reignite his career.
Charlie Adam – Reading – Midfielder – 15 Appearances
It would be unfair to do a piece on Championship players without featuring Charlie. He’s out of contract at the end of the season – is he ready to come home yet? If Blackpool could come to some agreement over wages, then anything is possible. He still looked in fine form when he did play last year, bagging himself two goals in the process and impressing against PNE. Last season Blackpool were crying out for a player of Charlie’s stature, who can take a hold of games where nothing was happening. Spearing unfortunately didn’t quite do that for us last season, especially in an attacking sense, but to his credit he worked hard defensively.
Charlie will most likely be able to get another club in the Championship, but you do wonder if he’d like to retire at Bloomfield Road. Charlie would not only be a big hit with the Seasiders for his former glory, but also has the leadership skills which the squad is currently lacking. He would be a great signing for some of the younger players to work with and could gain invaluable coaching experience with Critchley.
Dani Ayala – Free Agent – Defender – 25 Appearances (Middlesbrough)
The former Liverpool youth graduate has recently been released by relegation-threatened Boro and the Spaniard would be available for Blackpool on a free transfer. At 29 he is a pushing towards his older years but would more do a job for us in League One. However, after turning down a new offer from Boro, the defender’s next move is more likely to be upwards and he has been linked to Leeds and Newcastle, which will be more tempting for the defender if he can get a deal agreed.
Naby Sarr – Free Agent – Defender – 25 Appearances (Charlton Athletic)
It’s hard to understand why the frenchman hasn’t featured more as his record looks intact. He has helped Charlton during this season with his 3 goals and 5 assists. Playing in his preferred position of centre-back (left) and at the age of 26, the player has plenty of time to improve further as he comes into the peak of his career.
Chey Dunkley – Wigan Athletic – Defender – 26 Appearances
With Wigan recently going to adminstration it could be a few weeks before they start selling off their assets. The first place they may look are the players that haven’t featured much this season. In February, the 28-year-old suffered a broken fibula and tibula during a match against Reading. His injury ruled him out initially for the rest of the season – but with Covid-19 putting paid to Championship football from March to June, he’s nearly been able to make a full recovery and may well feature before the season is out. Chey is a solid centre-back that can defend and be an option for attack, chipping in with 6 goals and an assist so far. He will soon be back to full fitness and could be exactly the sort of experienced CB that Blackpool are looking for.
George Cooper – Peterborough – Midfielder – 27 Appearances (on loan at Plymouth)
The midfield man was on loan at Plymouth last season and was able to help steer the club to promotion with 12 assists and 3 goals. He definitely made an impact and currently it looks like Plymouth are trying to secure his services again for next season. At 23, the midfielder seems well equipped to be able to handle a higher level than League Two and is likely to hold out and see if he can make the jump for League One next season. It’s rumoured that Plymouth can’t get close to the figure that Ferguson is after but potentially Blackpool might be a club who can.
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