Opinion: Quality over Quantity

With January additions surely around the corner at Blackpool, unlike the previous transfer window, it’s quality that Blackpool will be after rather than quantity. After the recent performance against Bristol Rovers in which we had 21 chances, of which only five were on target, it is conclusive what area the transfer activity needs to happen in. Here we take a look at those attacking positions where we may need reinforcements.

Lack of Firepower?
The stats don’t lie. 20 goals in 20 games. Only Northampton have scored fewer than us this season. Despite creating plenty of chances, we aren’t converting anywhere near enough to compete at the right end of the division. This isn’t necessarily the fault of Yates and Madine – often in the final third we still don’t make the correct decision or provide the quality needed in the final ball, something that Neil Critchley alluded to in his recent press conference.

The Right Service?
Are the front men getting the right service? In some games this season, particularly when we were winning games, we have seen intricate threaded balls and high press. More recently, it’s been a case of get it to the wings and whip it in the box, something that doesn’t seem to be working as often. That’s where the goal came from on Saturday with Madine and it was a great delivery and great finish, but it doesn’t always work and not many clear chances dropped our way. If we want to make a difference then we need to be more daring, and try something different than pumping balls into the box, especially as we will be missing CJ Hamilton over the next few weeks – our main attacking threat this season. Last year we were heavily reliant on the Feeney-Gnanduillet partnership, I hope that we don’t continue to follow suite now, and take different opportunities with the ball.

As we are on the topic of the big man Armand, it’s becoming clear he won’t be rejoining the Seasiders as mentioned by Critch recently in the Gazette. Recent speculation suggests the Frenchman is gaining interest from Championship side Rotherham, as well as Ipswich and Sunderland.

Reinforcements
With the final ball lacking at the moment, it is clear we need a better delivery and a more clinical finisher up front. The squad depth that maybe we thought we had isn’t quite there at the moment, as we seem to struggle to change a game from the bench. On Saturday it was concerning – who could we turn to? The options on the bench seem to be defensively heavy and there aren’t many goals between Lubala, Woodburn and Mitchell who were our most attacking threats.

Unfortunately, the loan duo of Woodburn and Kemp haven’t done enough when given the opportunity. This will need addressing if Blackpool look to the loan market to strengthen again. Previously, Pool fans have been entertained with the likes of Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and Connor Ronan, both excellent players that added some much needed impact.

Other permanent players may need to look elsewhere for game time, as some haven’t been given long enough. The likes of Bez, needs a better run of games, needs confidence and needs that game time to sharpen his fitness and finishing – something that was clear last Saturday. Sarkic is another who falls in the bracket of minimal appearances and again will need to be getting game time elsewhere if he isn’t going to be an option.

The frustration for myself and I’m sure many other Blackpool fans too is that we have witnessed these players play well together. You don’t beat Portsmouth, Peterborough and Hull by chance. The players aren’t necessarily devoid of quality but just lack consistency in reaching those peak levels week in, week out. Which unfortunately is an absolute necessity if you want to get promoted. When Blackpool players are all on their game they are a force to be reckoned with. When they are not they fall apart in seconds.

If we do make some additions then we need to go for top quality. Whereas it’s been a case of building a squad from scratch in previous windows, now is just about small tweaks to enhance what we already have. The recruitment team have a big job and have done some fantastic work in the transfer window previously. They need to follow up again, with either some smart loan deals or shrewd permanent business. If we could bring in some loanees as we managed last January, of a similar quality to the likes of Dewsbury-Hall, then we’d be in a very strong position. But we do know that Critch often alludes to the fact he would prefer a permanent signing so that he can coach and develop his own players. In my opinion, we need fresh additions in three key positions: a striker, another winger and a central player that can link everything together. Some of the players I have previously mentioned in my January additions article, may fit the bill, but no doubt the club has already lined up their main targets.

Summary

We need to back the players and trust the board to get the additions this window right. I genuinely cannot wait until we’re back at Bloomfield Road, as the impact of COVID-19 seems to be spilling out on to Blackpool players and the board for their mistakes. The timing couldn’t be worse following Simon Sadler’s recent New Year’s Message in the backdrop of back-to-back defeats, but the sentiment of his message was key. He specifically highlighted the unnecessary amount of harsh words directed to players and staff from us fans and that’s something which is worse from the fact that we can all become keyboard warriors rather than witness our own impression of the game from the stands.

We all know that we need options for substitutions and we need more quality in the final third – everyone can see that, including Critchley and the board. Whether that is through coaching or new additions we will have to wait and see. But over everything, we need fan team spirit, the same spirit that saw us raise over £25k for disadvantaged primary school kids in Blackpool. It surely won’t take long for Critchley to improve this squad, and let’s remember we are only five points away from the Play-Offs.

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Published by Dan Hopwood

Life long Blackpool fan, thanks to my older brother for dragging me to Bloomfield Road in days of Colin Hendry! Currently a seaside exile living in London.

4 thoughts on “Opinion: Quality over Quantity

  1. We let Feeney go to Tranmere .he produced so much for the strikers last term, do we still own him. Blackpool bought another striker then sent him to Plymouth where he was outstanding some great goals.the Bristol game we just tried to walk ball in they just crowded the edge of area and we were knackered could not get through,then concede two soft goals again.. Anderson gave ball away 3times in 15 seconds , couldn’t pass a few yards in challenged. Dewsbury hall was awesome last term and we should of tied up a full loan for this term but he went up a league to Luton,so seems manager didn’t quite want him. We don’t have to much experience,alot of young players from lower league teams. The odd premier reserve. Strange table again,each able to beat each other,a few wins together your up there but few defeats and your down there.cant see us moving up to much,not good enough to get in playoffs,always just fall short.

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  2. The problem lies largely with Madine and Yates. Maybe they are not getting the best service but when the do have chances more often than not they fail. They are slow and clumsy and cant get past a player with the ball at feet. We need a buzzing poacher like DJ Campbell not 2 carthorses up front..

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    1. Part of the issue may lie with that they are nailed on starters. You only have to look at how much Turton has improved since there was competition for the RB spot. An addition of an experienced striker will put that place in to contention and they will improve.

      As for the service I can’t remember them squandering any real clear cut chances. Madine was unlucky with the one provided by Garbutt but that was down to pace rather than finishing!

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