So difficult for Blackpool boss Neil Critchley to plan for the summer

Blackpool are putting plans in place for the summer and beyond, even if their current league position makes concrete decisions tricky.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 12:30 pm

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Head coach Neil Critchley says the club speaks regularly about transfer targets, contract talks and plans for pre-season.

With the Seasiders occupying a play-off spot and chasing promotion, it makes preparing for next season a little awkward.

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Neil Critchley is planning for a pre-season training camp although the current campaign is far from over

Critchley told The Gazette : “We’re speaking on a regular basis about what we need to be doing for next season.

“In terms of pre-season, that’s taking shape with the games we’re going to play and if we can manage to get away at any stage, which will obviously prove difficult.

“It will be in this country if we do manage to get away.

“Even when we return, the return date could be different depending on what happens at the end of this season.

“We’re exploring options about whether we can get away for a week in this country.

“There are 90-odd football clubs thinking the same, so it can be a little limited in terms of where you can go with facilities that are adequate to host football teams for a whole week. There are cost implications as well but it’s something we’re looking at now.

“In terms of players for next season, we have two or three plans in place and it’s moving all the time.

“We’re having constant discussions about what’s going to happen, but it’s difficult to definitely cement those down because we’re a little bit unsure about where we’re going to be.”

Alex Fojticek, Ollie Turton, James Husband, Luke Garbutt, Nathan Shaw, Grant Ward, Sullay Kaikai and Gary Madine are all out of contract at the end of the season.

Pool do, however, hold options to extend the deals of Fojticek, Husband, Shaw, Ward and Kaikai.

Critchley admits changes are inevitable this summer, although Pool’s head coach has stressed the importance of keeping together the spine of the current group.

“We changed a lot of players last summer but we didn’t do as much in January because I didn’t think it was the right thing to do,” he added.

“I think this group needed time. I think we’ve proven that, in the second half of the season, consistency is important – staying together, learning together, hearing the messages, how we train etc. Sometimes the collective is better than individuals.

“There will be changes because there are players out of contract, that’s just natural.

“Some will come in and some will go out but we also want a collective group where we can move forward together because I think we’ve shown this season that, when they’re together, we’ve got a good group of players.

“If you look at their ages as well and their potential, there’s room for improvement and room to get better, so it’s important we keep this group together.”

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