Blackpool monitoring Charlton Athletic winger Charlie Kirk amid Nottingham Forest's interest in Josh Bowler

Charlton Athletic winger Charlie Kirk is a player on Blackpool’s radar, The Gazette understands.

By Matt Scrafton
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 2:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 4:35 pm

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It’s believed the Seasiders are happy with their current crop of wide players and aren’t planning to strengthen in that position this month.

However, that could all change if they lose Josh Bowler, who has been the subject of strong interest from Nottingham Forest.

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The latest reports suggest Blackpool’s Championship rivals are preparing to make a third bid for the 22-year-old, having failed with their opening two offers.It’s claimed the Seasiders are holding out for seven figures.

Kirk, meanwhile, is believed to be unsettled in the capital and is pushing for a move back to the North West.

The 24-year-old only signed for the Addicks on a four-year deal back in August after the League One side triggered his £500,000 release clause from Crewe Alexandra.

But his move to Charlton hasn’t gone to plan, with the winger making just 14 appearances in all competitions so far this season.

Charlie Kirk is a player Blackpool are keeping tabs on as a potential replacement for Josh Bowler

While the Cheshire-born player has yet to find the back of the net for Charlton, his record at Crewe was an impressive one with 32 goals to his name in 206 appearances.

Kirk, who will be well known to Neil Critchley given his Crewe connections, has struggled for game time since Johnnie Jackson took charge as he prefers a wing-back system.

It’s believed personal reasons may also have been a factor in Kirk’s mixed displays.

The winger last started a league game for Charlton at Lincoln City in October, although he has featured more heavily in the cup competitions.

Sources close to Charlton suggest the third tier outfit would like to bring in one or two players before allowing Kirk to depart, but would be open to letting him go.

The Addicks are, however, thought to be close to making a couple of signings this week, which could push Kirk closer to the exit door.

That will put Blackpool on high alert should they lose Bowler, who is also said to be interesting Blackburn Rovers, Fulham and Stoke City.

But Forest are pushing hard for both Bowler and Millwall winger Jed Wallace, amid reports they could be set to lose Brennan Johnson to Brentford for as much as £15m.

Speaking about the interest in Bowler last week, Critchley told The Gazette he had recently sat down with his player to discuss the speculation.

“I spoke to Josh and we had a good chat,” he said.

“We explained what our thoughts and feelings were and Josh is happy here and is playing really good football.

“He’s of the opinion that what will be, will be. But he’s more than happy here and he’s playing fantastic football, so if he continues in that vein his future might get taken out of our hands and his hands.”

The winger has been one of Blackpool' s standout performers this season and it appears his form has not gone unnoticed.

The 22-year-old has made 28 appearances in all competitions this season, with 26 of those coming in league games.

He's scored two goals this term, one in the Carabao Cup defeat to Sunderland and the winner in the 1-0 league win against Fulham.

The former Everton man also has three assists to his name.

Bowler arrived at Bloomfield Road during the summer on a free transfer, agreeing a one-year deal with the club holding the option to extend the deal by 12 months.

The winger was a free agent following his release from Everton, a club he joined in 2017 from QPR for a fee rising to £4.25m.

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