OPINION: Blackpool’s transfer window will determine their success or otherwise this season

Ben Heneghan's future is in doubt with his Blackpool loan spell due to end this month
Ben Heneghan's future is in doubt with his Blackpool loan spell due to end this month
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If he didn’t already, Simon Grayson is now likely to have an extensive shopping list – but what should be on there?

Blackpool’s lack of quality in the final third is painfully obvious, but will their ills be solved with the addition of a striker or two?

Or do they need more flair and cutting edge from the wide positions? And more guile and craft from midfield?

You’d probably have to say all of the above, which could make for an interesting few weeks ahead.

But it’s not just the attacking positions where the Seasiders are in need of strengthening.

Grayson revealed to The Gazette that Jak Alnwick is now facing surgery and a possible 12-week spell on the sidelines due to the bicep injury he suffered in the Boxing Day defeat to Accrington Stanley.

Mark Howard is a more than capable replacement and some have soon forgotten how instrumental he was to Blackpool last season, helping them keep 17 clean sheets in all competitions.

But the Blackpool boss hinted after the New Year’s Day disappointment at Rotherham United that he could look to bring in another shot-stopper following Alnwick’s injury woe.

The Seasiders certainly aren’t lacking in numbers in that particular department, with Christoffer Mafoumbi and Jack Sims also in contention.

But as Grayson appeared to make clear in his post-match comments in South Yorkshire on Wednesday, it is a step-up in quality that is required to turn his side into genuine promotion contenders, rather than just numbers.

Elsewhere, Pool could well lose one, perhaps two centre-backs during this window.

Ben Heneghan potentially played his last league game for the club in the defeat at Rotherham, with his loan spell due to end on January 14 – four days before the club’s next league outing at Lincoln City.

Heneghan will turn out for the Seasiders in this weekend’s FA Cup tie at Reading, but who knows what the future holds for the 26-year-old?

Reading between the lines, it appears his agent is touting his name around and attempting to get the best deal for his client – just as he did during the summer when Heneghan was desperate for a move to the Championship, one that never transpired.

The defender is out of contract at the end of the current campaign, so his parent club Sheffield United will want to sell him for a fee this month rather than lose him for nothing during the summer.

Pool have made their intentions clear: they want to sign him permanently. But will the numbers work or will another club swoop for him?

It would be a big loss were he to leave, but one that is perhaps softened by the recent arrival of Jordan Thorniley from the other club in Sheffield.

He comes with rave reviews from Wednesday fans, many incredulous that he wasn’t featuring in their first-team plans in the Championship.

At 23, he’s certainly one for the future but also one that can make an immediate impact. But will he be a replacement for Heneghan? Or will he play alongside him?

Another defender with doubts hanging over his future is Curtis Tilt, who made a rare recent appearance off the bench at the New York Stadium.

The 28-year-old was considered the club’s biggest asset and best player not so long ago, but in recent weeks he’s been a bit-part player.

His contract also runs out at the end of the season and it appears any notion of his current deal being renewed has been scrapped.

So do the club cash in on him this month? Or take the risk of losing him for free in the summer?

While Tilt is likely to have his admirers, the message I’m hearing is that there isn’t exactly a lengthy queue for his signature.

In attack, meanwhile, Pool continue to be linked with out-of-favour Sunderland striker Will Grigg.

The striker, who moved to the Stadium of Light for a £4m fee last year, will surely have to take a huge wage cut to join the Seasiders.

While he remains a deadly finisher at this level despite his poor spell in the North East, I have my doubts over whether or not he’s the all-round forward that can transform Pool’s attacking options.

He’s the fox-in-the-box type who gobbles up chances in and around the 18-yard-box. But would he get the required service?

Either way, it has been clear from the very start of the season that Blackpool’s chances this season will largely be determined by the success of their business during the January transfer window.

As such, I’d expect a busy few weeks ahead...