Everything Michael Appleton said on Blackpool’s transfer deadline day, Josh Bowler’s departure and Callum Wright’s arrival

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As ever, it was an eventful transfer deadline day at Bloomfield Road.
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Positive news on Luke Garbutt, Charlie Patino and Keshi Anderson ahead of Blackp...

The fans’ worst fears were realised as Josh Bowler departed to link up with Nottingham Forest, albeit being immediately loaned out to Greek side Olympiakos.

Matty Virtue, meanwhile, left to join Lincoln City on loan in his search for regular game time.

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There was also one late permanent capture in the form of central midfielder Callum Wright from Leicester City.

Here’s everything head coach Michael Appleton said about Blackpool’s deadline day business:

How do you reflect on deadline day?

“It was a long day, as it always is. I will catch up on some sleep tonight if I get the opportunity!

Blackpool boss Michael AppletonBlackpool boss Michael Appleton
Blackpool boss Michael Appleton

“After a late night Wednesday and an early start Thursday before another late night, it’s part and parcel of the job.

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“I’m not sure relieved is the right word, but I’m quite glad the window is shut now so we can stop talking and get on with doing.”

Callum Wright’s arrival

“He’s a very attack minded player. He can play right across the four, seven or 11, or predominately he’s an eight or a 10.

“He’s an exciting lad who is ready for the challenge ahead of him.

“I remember taking him in from Leicester and he was one who was always a potential player. I took in three or four at that point.

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“I think the loan spell he had in League One, he scored nine goals and had five assists, so he was outstanding for Cheltenham.

“He played very well against my previous side Lincoln, so we kept an eye on him there.

“As a football club we feel over the next two or three years he could potentially really kick on.

“He’s grown a little bit, I met him again on Thursday night and I’m really excited about the move.”

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Bolstering midfield options

“It was important because as you know we’re a little bit light in there.

“Having said that, Sonny (Carey) is back after the weekend and Callum comes into the frame for Saturday, so all of a sudden it’s starting to look a bit healthier.”

Were other deals being worked on?

“Opportunities only become available when people are willing to trade and do business, so that’s why it was key getting Poveda done last week so we didn’t find ourselves in a desperate situation if Josh did leave on the last day.

“It’s going to be a very, very difficult player to replace, but all you can do is give people an opportunity who you feel could potentially do that.

“Ian has got that opportunity and we hope he takes it.”

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Josh Bowler’s departure

“I was more than aware it could happen, so it’s not like I’m waking up and thinking ‘oh my God’.

“The reality is the moment I walked into the building I was aware of the speculation surrounding Josh and a potential departure.

“He’s a talent, he’s a good footballer. He did ever so well for this club and made a massive contribution last year and he was obviously making a good contribution this year as well.

“But when I first met the football club, they spoke about a model and it’s a model I’m well aware of and I’ve used at previous clubs where you look to bring young players in with potential who you hope can fulfil that potential.

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“In the short to medium term you hope they can give you success on the pitch, but from a long-term point of view the vision is always to develop and potentially make money and sell them on to so-called bigger and better clubs.

“This is probably the start of it, because we’ve probably got five or six players within the group who we feel over the next couple of years could kick on.

“What we have to do and what we will do is make sure when a top player leaves that we have a contingency plan in place to replace them.

“It will be difficult to replace someone of the quality of Josh Bowler as it stands right now today, but who knows we might have that replacement in the building but he’s not fulfilled that potential yet.”

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Were the club satisfied with the money involved?

“I couldn’t answer that, it’s not for me to answer. You’re better off speaking to Simon or Ben on that one.

“The reality is he was out of contract in the summer so the club was in a difficult position.”

Was Josh aware at the start of the day he was joining Olympiakos?

“I didn’t know he was aware or not of the plan to go to Olympiakos.

“Secondly, as daft as it sounds you’ve got to move on so my thoughts are with the players we’ve got in the building right now and we’ve got a big game on Sunday.

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“Whatever happens with Josh, I hope it works out well and I wish him all the best because he’s a top, top talent.

“I’d like to see him back on these shores sooner rather than later.”

Does Matty Virtue still have a future?

“That’s down to Matty now.

“He’s had so much time out of the game with his injury situation, so it’s important he just plays as many 90 minutes as possible.

“It’s then up to him to put himself in the frame and in a position where it gets us thinking about whether he could come in and affect our XI, rather than just sit on the bench and be a squad player.”

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Do you have the squad depth in the final third?

“We’ll soon find out. We can talk about it until we’re blue in the face but we won’t know until we start kicking a ball and getting games underway.“There are still one or two players out there that I feel could improve us as a group, so I certainly haven’t given up on one or two who are without a club.

“As much as the window is shut, it doesn’t mean by any stretch of the imagination that our business is done in terms of the short term.”