Neil Critchley responds to Nottingham Forest's rumoured interest in Blackpool's Josh Bowler

Neil Critchley has refused to be drawn on speculation surrounding Josh Bowler, other than insisting Blackpool obviously want to keep him at Bloomfield Road.

By Matt Scrafton
Saturday, 1st January 2022, 6:37 pm
Updated Saturday, 1st January 2022, 6:40 pm

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It comes amid speculation that Championship rivals Nottingham Forest have had a bid knocked back for the winger, as claimed by Sky Sports on Friday.

Bowler returned to the starting line-up for the Seasiders during today’s 1-0 win against Hull City, delivering an excellent display and winning the penalty that led to Pool’s winning goal courtesy of Gary Madine.

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When asked about the rumoured approach after the game, Critchley said: “I’m not going to confirm anything or get involved in speculation, that would be wrong.

“Silly season has started today, hasn’t it?

“You’ve only got to look at how Josh played today to see it didn’t affect him because I thought he was terrific.

“He’s been fantastic for us this season so we want to keep him at this football club.”

Bowler delivered a superb display during today's win against Hull

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.

Bowler failed to make a senior appearance for the Toffees, but he enjoyed plenty of game time in the Championship during the 2019/20 season - making 31 appearances during a loan spell with Hull City.

He's caught the eye this season with his ability to beat a man and get Blackpool up the pitch, although his end product has been called into question at times.

His quality in the final third has improved in recent weeks, however, setting up goals against both Peterborough United and Huddersfield Town.

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