Neil Critchley: Deal is great for Owen Dale and for Blackpool

Neil Critchley hopes Owen Dale’s permanent switch to Blackpool will bring out the best in the winger.

Friday, 14th January 2022, 8:00 am

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Neil Critchley hopes Owen Dale’s permanent switch to Blackpool will bring out the best in the winger.

The 23-year-old briefly returned to Crewe Alexandra this week, after his loan spell at Bloomfield Road expired.

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Owen Dale last played at Bloomfield Road in the defeat by Luton Town six weeks ago

Dale initially joined the Seasiders on September 1 with a view to making the move permanent this month.

That was thrown into doubt last month, when Crewe boss David Artell released a statement claiming the Railwaymen would “endeavour” to do all they could to get him back “fit and available”.

However, contrary to reports, the permanent move was always on the cards and Critchley says it was just a case of finding a “resolution” between the two clubs.

The deal was finalised yesterday and Pool’s head coach told The Gazette: “The loan was always due to run out in January and then it was about finding an agreement – like any transfer – between two clubs, which can take a bit of time.

“We found that resolution and both clubs came to an agreement, so he now becomes a permanent Blackpool player.

“I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Owen back to the club on a permanent basis.”

Dale scored on his Blackpool debut in the comeback win at Reading in October but has managed only six further appearances, last featuring in the defeat at Derby County five weeks ago.

The winger’s loan got off to a slow start as a foot issue emerged during his medical, meaning he didn’t make his Blackpool bow for seven weeks after joining.

Despite Dale’s stop-start Bloomfield Road career to date, Critchley is excited about what the future holds for his latest recruit.

“Owen is someone I’ve known for a very long time. I’ve seen him have a very good upbringing and education at Crewe,” he said.

“I thought he had a fantastic season last season in a good Crewe team and this has always been our plan to bring him here permanently.

“We’re delighted we’ve been able to find a resolution with Crewe.

“It’s great for Owen and it’s great for us because we feel Owen is the type of player that will be the future of this football club, so I’m made up it’s now been made into a permanent deal.

“The last few months have not been easy for him but I think this permanent move will settle him down.

“He will be full of confidence, it will help him and we will get to see the best of him.

“When he’s settled, he’s a player who plays off instinct and he needs to be settled to show his best.

“I believe he’s got his best years coming. Hopefully we’ll see the benefit of that.”

Dale becomes Blackpool’s second signing of the January transfer window following striker Jake Beesley’s arrival from Rochdale on Monday.

The Seasiders are also keen to strengthen in central midfield, where their options have been depleted by injuries and the recall of Ryan Wintle to Cardiff City.

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