Blackpool have exceeded expectations to be in the top half of the Championship with an 11 point cushion on the relegation zone after 23 games.
The Tangerines enjoyed a superb second half of the 2020/21 campaign to crash into the play-off picture and come through at Wembley Stadium to return to the Championship.
Many had their reservations about Neil Critchley’s men’s credentials to maintain second tier status this season, but they have made it look a walk in the park and sit just five points off of the top six as we edge towards the January transfer window.
Given their impressive campaign, it would not be a surprise to see some of the Tangerines’ best players linked with moves away from Bloomfield Road. However, and this speaks to the job Critchley is doing, it feels like such a tight knit unit where every player is contributing in their own way, that there has not been a clear standout player so this term.
Jerry Yates and Shayne Lavery have shown their undeniable quality at times but it feels like a real team effort to be competing where they are without any names that jump off the page for a January exit.
Looking at the entrance rather than the exit, here, we have taken a look at two big transfer decisions that Critchley could need to make in the next few weeks…
The Manchester City loanee lost his place to Chris Maxwell in the last few weeks before regaining it in Maxwell’s absence in the weekend’s victory over Peterborough United.
Grimshaw’s dropping may be concerning from a City point of view who, at 23, will be desperate for Grimshaw to receive as much game time as possible.
Grimshaw filled in admirably for Maxwell when he was injured earlier in the campaign and could be on the lookout for a new permanent destination, with his deal up with his parent club at the end of next season. A permanent pursuit of Grimshaw could be an option for Critchley to consider bringing in a long term successor to Maxwell.
Quiz: Have Blackpool FC signed a player from each of these 20 clubs in the last five years?
Dale has only managed four starts in the Championship this season after joining on a loan to buy agreement from Crewe Alexandra. The deal is meant to be made permanent in January with a fee agreed with Crewe in the summer, however there have been reports that Blackpool would like to return to the negotiations table to amend that fee after Dale’s slow first half of the campaign.
The saga could drag on next month with Critchley pondering whether or not he wants to sign Dale on a permanent basis.