It feels strange writing the words ‘January additions’ after such an emphatic win against table toppers Hull City recently. The side is on a great run of form and we have the best squad depth we’ve had in years. However, if we were subject to some bad injuries, then we will need to rely on those strength in numbers, that so far, we actually seem to have.
Ultimately, after reviewing the squad with the rest of the writers at utmp, we have all agreed that it will first rely on the outgoings.
So, let’s start with them heading out.
With the arrival of Jordan Gabriel in the summer and the ever-reliable Ollie Turton, as well as Mitchell and Garbutt, Howe has seen himself slip further down the pecking order. Currently, we have rotations available from six full-back options and Teddy Howe is sixth choice. As Sean recently mentioned in his review over Hull, we tend to choose a defensive or attacking option on either side of defence depending on whatever tactical situation a game may require. Unfortunately, Howe just hasn’t featured and it’s hard to see how he could break into the side. He’ll be on his way out come January either as a permanent deal or loan. I don’t think he’ll necessarily be directly replaced either as we have a plethora of options, but will create some space for another addition elsewhere.
To be honest I do feel sorry for Thorniley. Sheffield Wednesday fans teased us with tales of his greatness and somewhere down the line of being thrusted into a Simon Grayson eleven, with a lack of fitness and sharpness to perform, he seems to have lost his confidence. The writing was on the wall for him in pre-season as he failed to secure his place in Neil Critchley’s plans in a position we seriously lacked strength in. Since then, with the impressive additions of Daniel Gretarsson and Daniel Ballard and the ever improving and consistent Marvin Ekpetita, chances have been scarce. With Ballard hopefully being tied up to a longer loan deal those three will have the rotation and Jordan might not get his opportunity. I’m not sure he has the full trust of the fans or Critch as he hasn’t been given many chances to show what he can do. For this reason, I do believe he’ll be heading out the door come January, opening up a second space in our squad to strengthen.
It hasn’t worked out has it? Not all signings are going to be instant hits – especially when you’re making 17 of them in one window! It will be interesting to see how this one plays out and whether Critchley will hold his hand up to this one and ship Sarkic out. He hasn’t shown us what he can do in the games unfortunately, and even though I believe he possesses quality, the question remains around how long he will be given to display this in game time. None of the recent opportunities he has been given by the head coach, have been taken with both hands. There’s still time for him to turn it around and make a breakthrough, but surely it’s wise to send him out on loan and get some regular game time.
Quick mention for Bez
I’d argue Bez has shown us what he is about in some of the cup games and has had to sit out patiently due to CJ and Kaikai being in incredible form. He may get his chance soon albeit against lesser opposition in the league, as first choice Kaikai has tired in recent games, therefore I would expect him to stay and be used more regularly in rotation. That said, he may be sent out on loan – which he may find to be in his best interest – to get regular games and show his qualities either at this level or below. Definitely not a permanent move though, as he can be an asset to us.
At left back, we also have three options and Demetri Mitchell may be sent out to get more game time.
Areas to Strengthen
The priority has to be a striker and this isn’t because our current strike force aren’t good enough – Yorke and Cole would play every game if their bodies allowed them but in the compact fixture list that isn’t going to happen. When the Blackpool boys of 2007 got promoted we had four very different versatile forwards: Burgess, Vernon, Morrell, Parker. Having a variety of strikers worked wonders for that Blackpool team and we will need other options of different attributes too. While we don’t play 4-4-2 every single week and Keshi Anderson provides an option as a second striker, it’s clear that we are a little light in this area leaving us susceptible to injury from Madine or Yates.
A centre back should be on the Christmas shopping list too – especially if Ballard heads back to North London. Thorniley could also be on his way out too, meaning a replacement would need to be brought in.
I would argue that we need an additional Goalkeeper to be brought in who is a stronger number 2, who can really push Maxwell. Sims and Fojitcek look decent options for the youth squad, but have work to be done to take the number one shirt. However, it would be difficult to secure someone of the required quality who is happy to wait for his chance, and Jack Sims regularly appears on the bench to fill the homegrown quota, so he likely wouldn’t even appear in the match day squad. It’s more likely the club will continue to leave a gap open in the squad for an emergency loan if Maxwell gets injured.
Who should we sign then?
We have the workhorse Jerry Yates (Andy Morrell), we have the big man Gary Madine (Ben Burgess) so where is our speed merchant who always gets caught offside (Keigan Parker)? We’ve highlighted some options lwho could help bring the goals in as we look to secure a natural goalscorer and another who can keep up with CJ to provide support.
Crawley Town’s Max Watters fits the bill at 21 years of age – you would hope he would find the jump reasonably comfortable, knowing the fact a lot of the recruitment has been based off League Two already including his former teammate Bez Lubala. Max earned himself the October Player of the Month award after hitting 5 goals in 5 games. His overall stats for the season are 12 goals with a shot accuracy of 71%.
Current League Two top scorer Paul Mullin (Cambridge United) is also an option with 16 goals and 1 assist so far this year. At 26 years old he also fits the criteria of players coming into their peak years, with potential that the club is after. He looks like he could be a real handful if he made the move north to Blackpool.
I also don’t hide the fact that I am a big Joe Pigott fan and that we could be one Joe Pigott away from taking this league by storm. He has been outstanding for AFC Wimbledon so far (11 goals and 4 assists) and his contract is up in January. If we were able to secure his services it would a welcome addition at the top end of the pitch.
Dion Charles is another forward option who I would snap your hand off for at the moment. Although, more of a midfielder who can get forward, he is a class player and has been simply superb for Accrington Stanley (6 goals and 1 assist) this season. He came through the ranks at Bloomfield Road before being released at 18, and had done remarkably well to fight back through non-league and make his mark at League One level with Stanley.
Another left footed centre back may be a resolute option with Thorniley surely on his way out. Ideally, we would have 4 centre backs, two left footed and two right footed. With hope that we can secure Ballard’s services for the rest of the year and Marvin also on the right, we need someone to compete with Gretarsson on the left.
Jordy de Wijs – Hull – (left footed)
His contract expires in June, so it could be worth asking. He has only featured 7 times and is highly rated. He also fits the age bracket being 25.
Baily Cargill – MK Dons – (left footed)
Another left footer who is 25 and hasn’t featured much. He’s bagged a goal this season for the Dons and has featured 8 times. His height is a standout here, towering tall at 1.89m and being left footed would suit the area we are looking to address.
Adedeji Oshilaja – Charlton – (right footed)
Another whose contract will expire soon and hasn’t featured much (5 appearances, 1 assist). A touch older at 27 but the Nigerian centre-back looks a handful and could do a job for the Pool at the back.
Who do you think we should be in the market for come January? Let us know in the comments below or on social!
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