January transfer window: Blackpool's current state of play with seven days to go

Mercifully, we’re now into the final week of the January transfer window.

By Matt Scrafton
Monday, 24th January 2022, 7:30 am

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Fans' gallery from Blackpool's hard-fought win against Millwall at Bloomfield Ro...

It’s already been a busy month for the Seasiders, with Jake Beesley arriving from Rochdale while Owen Dale’s loan move from Crewe was made permanent.

Ethan Robson was recalled early from his loan at MK Dons to bolster Blackpool’s options in central midfield following the untimely return of Ryan Wintle to parent club Cardiff City.

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Tyreece John-Jules, meanwhile, returned to Arsenal after an unsuccessful loan spell on the Fylde coast.

There was a further departure in the form of Teddy Howe, whose contract was cancelled by mutual consent to allow the defender to seek pastures new.

But the business completed so far is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg, with a hectic week of potential ins and outs anticipated.

There’s so many moving parts, it’s hard to keep up at times. But here’s the current state of play with seven days until the window shuts:

Demetri Mitchell is expected to make the move north of the border

INS AND OUTS

Demetri Mitchell is likely to be one player that departs between now and next Monday, although we shouldn’t have to wait that long for his exit to be confirmed.

The winger was strongly linked with a permanent switch to Scottish side Hibs last week.

The Gazette understands the 25-year-old, who was left out of Blackpool’s squad for their 1-0 win against Millwall on Saturday, travelled to Edinburgh on Friday to finalise his move and undergo a medical.

As yet, there’s been no official confirmation, but again The Gazette expects this to be one deal that does go through.

Should Mitchell depart, it will leave Blackpool with two free spaces in the 25-man squad they must formally register to the EFL within 24 hours of the window closing.

The Seasiders will have lists of possible targets drawn up for every position on the pitch and for every eventuality.

The Gazette has learned that Charlton Athletic winger Charlie Kirk, formerly of Crewe, is a player on Blackpool’s radar should they lose a player in that position.

Speaking in the press last week, Addicks boss Johnnie Jackson admitted the League One side are willing to listen to loan offers for their player.

Another player that was conspicuous by his absence at the weekend was defender Daniel Gretarsson, who has been the subject of interest from Polish side Śląsk Wrocław.

Neil Critchley confirmed to The Gazette after Saturday’s win that Gretarsson, as well as Mitchell for that matter, have been the subject of interest in recent days.

While the 26-year-old is well liked by the club’s fanbase, the Icelandic international has largely been a bit-part player since joining from Norwegian side Aalesunds in October 2020.

Two others that will need to move elsewhere for regular game time are Oliver Sarkic and Joe Nuttall, with the club actively looking to move them on to free up their wages.

There appears to be more confidence in Nuttall leaving than Sarkic, with a move to League Two side Scunthorpe United mooted, but the club will hope both are able to find new clubs between now and 11pm next Monday.

While it looks like Ethan Robson is now in Critchley’s plans, a potential bid from his loan club MK Dons can’t be discounted - so that will be one to keep an eye on.

There’s also the curious case of Jordan Thorniley, who currently remains on loan with Oxford United despite recent reports of a potential recall.

From the outside looking in, it appears Thorniley is being used by Blackpool as a pawn in Blackpool’s pursuit of Oxford midfielder Cameron Brannagan.

It’s understood Blackpool have offered Thorniley as part of a potential swap deal, but as yet the Seasiders have failed to make much headway.

However, don’t be surprised if that’s one that goes right down to the wire as Critchley is a long-time admirer of Brannagan, who Pool also tried to lure to Bloomfield Road during the summer.

If they’re unable to agree a fee with Oxford, they will have other targets in mind.

A host of other names have already been linked, including Jeando Fuchs (Dundee United), Stuart McKinstry (Leeds United), George Thomas (QPR), Ebou Adams (Forest Green), Jay Fulton (Swansea City) and Tashan Oakley-Boothe (Stoke City) - basically every central midfielder under the sun.

Bringing in a central midfielder will be absolutely imperative for the Seasiders, who remain low on numbers in that position despite Robson’s return.

In terms of a potential unwanted outgoing, the Tangerines might have to bat away further offers for Josh Bowler, who has been strongly linked with Championship rivals Nottingham Forest virtually all month.

The winger, who is still only 22, let’s not forget, has been in sterling form in the past few weeks and Blackpool will be desperate to hold onto their prized asset at all costs.

Forest want to bring in both Bowler and Jed Wallace, of Millwall, as they prepare to lose star player Brennan Johnson to Premier League side Brentford, with a fee as high as £18m mentioned in some reports.

Another question to consider is whether or not Pool will need to strengthen at left-back after Luke Garbutt hobbled off with a knee injury at the weekend.

If a scan reveals a serious injury, that will leave Critchley without a recognised left-back as James Husband and Reece James are already sidelined with hamstring injuries.

Is it worth bringing in another left-back as a short-term fix though, when you’ve already got three on the books? What happens when they’re all available?

Chances are, Blackpool will probably look to get through the situation as best as they can for a few weeks with Dujon Sterling filling in there, as he did so well on Saturday after Garbutt was forced off.

James is back on the grass, to coin Critchley’s favourite phrase, and doing some running, so he’s probably not a million miles away.

And if Thorniley does return, as a left-sided centre-back he could always provide emergency backup if required.

I think that just about covers everything for now, although I’m sure something else will crop up. Strap in for a busy week…

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