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How Did Blackpool Fare In The January Transfer Window?




The January transfer window is a time that fans of every club looks forward to. It gives the club an opportunity to improve their squad to push for promotion, or to bring players in to help them fight off relegation.


For Blackpool, that was no different this year. With the club sitting in 8th place for the majority of the season, The Seasiders looked to the transfer window to help change that.


Blackpool ended up having more outs than ins, including the departure of a key midfielder, which left some fans wanting more than what they got. So, how did they get on?






Departures

Firstly, the players who left the Blackpool squad, whether that be permanently or on a loan deal.


There were a few that were highly expected amongst the Blackpool fans, such as Brighton recalling Jensen Weir from his loan spell, after failing to impress in his 10 appearances this season. The midfielder then moved to fellow League One side Port Vale on loan until the end of the season.


Dominic Thompson, who was also struggling for starts, found himself moving on loan to League Two side Forest Green Rovers, for some much needed game time and found himself on the scoresheet in their 3-3 draw against Colchester.


The only other loan of note was that of Rob Apter. The Blackpool youth prospect spent the first half of the season impressing at League Two side Tranmere Rovers. In January, Apter found himself being recalled by Blackpool, only to be offered a new contract and be loaned straight back out to Tranmere for the rest of the season.





Summer signing Doug Tharme found his time on the seaside cut short, after being sold for an undisclosed fee to League Two side Grimsby Town. The centre-back barely featured for Blackpool and did not impress when he played in the EFL Trophy.


Another summer signing also found his time at Blackpool cut short, midfielder Tashan Oakley-Boothe. The promising midfielder signed as a free agent following his release from Stoke in the summer, but after rarely featuring, following some poor performances, he has his contract mutually terminated, allowing him to sign for Portuguese side CF Estrela.


There were two more that left the Blackpool squad in this window, and they were two players that the fans were not happy about losing.


Speculation around Owen Dale grew when he was pictured in the stands during Oxford’s 2-2 draw with league leaders Portsmouth, the same day Blackpool advanced to the semi-final of the EFL Trophy after beating Bolton on penalties.


The winger had featured 23 times in the league this season, with 13 of those coming from the bench, registering two goals and two assists, despite being played out of position.


The transfer left fans divided, with some feeling it left the squad much weaker, whereas others felt he had less quality than other options in the squad.






The transfer that hit the fans hardest, however, was the loss of Kenny Dougall to Thai side Buriram United.


The midfielder has been a mainstay in the Blackpool side since he arrived in their League One promotion campaign, and his performances this season have been impressive at times.


The midfielder found himself more involved with the goals this season, scoring three times in the league, and grabbing himself two assists, but it was not enough to nail down a starting spot this time under Critchley.


With a plethora of players leaving the squad, Blackpool had to dip into the transfer market to improve their squad depth, and they did so, bringing in a total of four players.





Incomings

Blackpool looked to add some much need experiences to their squad and looked to The Championship to do so, bringing in two loanees.


The first. left back Hayden Coulson, who arrived on loan from Middlesbrough. The full-back played a total of 53 games for Middlesbrough scoring one goal, and getting two assists.


The full-back did not have long to settle before being thrown into first-team action and has already featured four times in the league so far.


Coulson has impressed so far, with his ability to get forward and find a pass. His attacking work rate shows why Critchley wanted to bring him in, suiting his system perfectly.


The other loan signing Blackpool made was George Byers from Sheffield Wednesday. The versatile midfielder has featured heavily in The Championship this season, making 22 appearances, but has found himself dropping down to League One, in what is an impressive coup for Blackpool.


The Championship experience will help Blackpool massively, and with his contract running out at the end of the season, a permanent move could be on the cards should he impress at Bloomfield Road.


Byers has performed well during his time in League One. In his 60 appearances, he has found the back of the net 12 times, whilst also grabbing six assists.


His signing will help lessen the blow of losing Dougall, and despite not featuring for Blackpool yet, the fans cannot wait to see him in action.


The biggest transfer news of Blackpool’s January did not involve a player arriving or departing the club, it was instead the news that Jordan Rhodes would remain at Blackpool on loan until the end of the season.


With Rhodes scoring 15 league goals, combined with Huddersfield struggling in The Championship, there were rumours that he might be recalled, leaving Blackpool without their top scorer.


However, the date on Rhodes’ recall option passed by, resulting in Rhodes remaining at Bloomfield Road until the end of the season.





There were two more signings Blackpool made towards the end of the window, the first being the arrival of defender Dan Sassi from Burnley.


Perhaps signed as a backup player, due to Sassi not making a senior appearance so far, the fans were happy that a player had been signed for the future, and only time will tell as to whether this was a good move or not.


The final signing of Blackpool’s January transfer window was the arrival of Ryan Finnigan from Southampton.


Finnigan first signed for Crewe in League Two in the previous January transfer window, and made 16 appearances, scoring one goal and getting one assist.


He then joined Shrewsbury on a season-long loan this summer, where he only made one league appearance, due to an ankle injury he suffered towards the end of September.


Finnigan was then recalled on transfer deadline day, before making a permanent move to Blackpool, and is yet to make his first appearance for the club.


Not much is known about Finnigan and how he will perform in League One, so it is a big risk for Blackpool to bring him in permanently, especially after suffering such a long injury.






That concluded Blackpool’s transfer window, and it seems like the club has been left weaker than when the transfer window started. The signing of Byers is a strong one, especially if the club can secure his services on a permanent deal when his contract runs out.


But, the loss of Dougall, and the sale of Owen Dale, to a direct promotion rival, has left some fans confused with the board's decisions.


The news that Rhodes will remain at the club until the end of the season was well met, and treated like a new signing, as the fans hope he can be the difference between promotion and another season in League One.


Blackpool could have done more, as they reportedly had a ‘substantial bid’ rejected on deadline day for Wycombe defender Joe Lowe, and they also lost out on Owen Moxen for the second transfer window, as he secured a move to league leaders Portsmouth instead.


Only time will tell whether Blackpool did enough in the transfer window to help them get promoted, they have signed some good players, and some unknown ones too, but the loss of Dale and Dougall could impact them heavily.

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