Blackpool boss Neil Critchley set for balancing act over summer recruitment

It will be important for Blackpool to strike the right balance with their summer recruitment, according to team boss Neil Critchley.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 8:00 am

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The Seasiders were one of the most active sides in the country last year, with 17 players arriving and a further 21 departing.

It was a much quieter transfer window in January, with Ellis Simms, Kevin Stewart and Elliot Embleton the only arrivals and some fringe players leaving.

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Neil Critchley believes that improving a club's current players is as important as adding new ones

Asked if he is anticipating a busy summer of recruitment, Critchley said: “I’d hope not but you’re always looking to improve the squad, always.

“This is a club that wants to move forward and we want to get better on and off the pitch, so the recruitment and the progress of the team never stops.

“However, I’m also a big believer that if you get the right players in, if you give them time and they play together, and if you believe in how you train and the process we follow, then those players will improve.

“It’s probably more relevant the higher you go, but the answer to how to improve your squad always seems to be about who you’re signing and getting the chequebook out. But sometimes you have to look within first and ask if you’re improving the players who are actually in front of you.

“We’re doing that and we’ve shown this season that if you get the right players in and train properly, then the players will improve together.

“Yes, we’ll be looking; yes, we want to improve the squad; but I’m also a great believer in the group we’ve got here.”

While Blackpool recruited successfully last summer, the additions of Daniel Gretarsson, Kenny Dougall, Stewart, Embleton and Simms later in the campaign were also key.

“It’s massively helped,” Critchley said. “I’ve had great support and help from Simon (Sadler), Brett (Gerrity) and Ben (Mansford) along the way.

“They’ve been unbelievable with their unwavering support for me and what we’ve been trying to do.

“We made a lot of changes last summer – the squad pretty much had a complete overhaul.

“That understanding I thought would grow during the season and our identity would improve, and it has.

“We’ve changed formation, we’ve played different ways and the consistency we’ve shown has been remarkable.

“We didn’t make too many changes in January and that was really important. We could easily have looked to change what we were doing at that time because it wasn’t like we were in the top six then.

“But I had a belief in the players and sometimes the best investment you can make is in time and in believing in the process.

“We did that and we reaped the benefits in the second half of the season.”