Neil Critchley remaining tight-lipped on speculation linking Blackpool with move for Linfield's prolific former Everton striker

Neil Critchley is remaining tight-lipped on speculation linking Blackpool with a summer move for prolific Linfield striker Shayne Lavery.

Saturday, 15th May 2021, 11:00 am

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The Belfast Telegraph recently reported that the Seasiders are current favourites to land the Northern Ireland forward, who is out of contract in the summer.

The 22-year-old has enjoyed an impressive campaign for the Northern Irish Premier League side, scoring 23 goals in just 23 games, including two hat-tricks.

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The prolific striker also scored 14 goals in 19 games last season.

Lavery's form has earned him call-ups to the Northern Ireland squad, where he has featured seven times alongside Blackpool s Dan Ballard.

The 5ft 11ins forward has also represented his country from Under-17 level right up to Under-21.

Lavery joined Linfield in 2019 after a loan spell at Falkirk while at parent club Everton, where he spent four years in their academy.

Lavery in action for Northern Ireland earlier this year

Kilmarnock and Motherwell were linked with the striker but, according to reports, his previous spell in Scotland was a fairly forgettable one and the player is keen to move to England.

When asked about the speculation by The Gazette, Critchley said: “I can’t say anything about that, not at the moment.

“I’m not going to comment on speculation about another player, especially a player who is still at another club and still playing in their league and cup competitions.

“That would be wrong for me to do that.

“We’ve still got our season to finish and so have they, so when our season has finished, if we want to talk about our plans for next season and players, then no problem. But not at the moment.”

With Pool's season extended after finishing in the play-offs, that makes recruitment a little tricky.

Clubs up and down the land are already doing their business nice and early ahead of the 2021/22 campaign, but the Seasiders are unlikely to secure any targets until they know which division they'll be playing in.

Despite that, Critchley isn't too concerned.

“We’ve got a process in place and we’ve got a plan, so when you’ve got a way of working that definitely helps," he added.

“John Stephenson, our head of football operations, chief executive Ben Mansford and our recruitment team, we speak a lot, we speak on a regular basis.

“Recruitment of players is an all-year round exercise, it doesn’t stop. It just becomes more prevalent around the window and when it’s open, when you can do your business.

“We’ve been planning for months, we’re watching players all the time and that continues.

“When the season has finished, we’ll then get to work on what we need to be doing ready for next season, whatever division we’re going to be in.”

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