Written by: Rob Underdown - The Tangerine Knights Twitter: @KnightTangerine & https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1517302138551791
Expectations for the season ahead
Last Season will have been an eye opener for many fans. We had some that doubted we would even be in the same division after a poor start (results wise) which saw us suffer 6 defeats in our opening 10 League games. I could see though that we were playing well and with that touch of look the results would come. They did and we gradually climbed the table (while still under the radar) to finish 3rd and ultimately promotion via the Play Offs.
This coming season will no doubt see us as one of the favourites for relegation once again (remember the 2009/10 season), but we don’t mind that in the slightest as history has shown.
We have, for the most part, kept together the same young, talented group of players who grew so well together as a unit last season and we became hard to score against whilst our attractive passing style can open up defences.
This season won’t be an easy one but a mid table finish is something this team is more than capable of achieving, but if things really do click, get your ticket early!
If I had to pick one it would be Jerry Yates, although there are a few that could claim this spot. After a sluggish start to last season he went on to bag 20 goals in the League which has led to him being linked with moves to Blackburn, Forest etc.
Thankfully our new owner Simon Sadler and his team are looking at building for the future and we believe a new contract offer is on the table to keep Jerry at Bloomfield Road for a few more seasons, something that was unheard of under the previous owners.
This is a tricky one. The majority of last seasons squad were new to us so all became rising stars. Even through Covid and no fans attending, we bonded with them unlike any squad since the Premier League team.
I can’t wait to see a fully fit CJ Hamilton tearing up defences with his pace and I think Demetri Mitchell could have a good season, but it’s the new transfers that I have a feeling will do well.
Neil Critchley obviously has a good eye for young talent and knows the U-23 scene better than most. He is already one of the most qualified coaches in the country so his new signings Josh Bowler and Callum Connolly (Everton U-23’s), Daniel Grimshaw (Man City U-23’s), Oliver Casey (Leeds U-23’s), Shayne Lavery (Linfield) and Sonny Carey (King’s Lynn) could be absolute gems.
What transfers are needed?
After the play off final we lost Dan Ballard back to Arsenal, Elliot Embleton back to Sunderland, Ellis Simms back to Everton and Jordan Gabriel back to Forest. We have strengthened as I have said above but replacing especially Ballard who was an absolute rock in defence (now signed on loan at Millwall) and Simms who became a potent goalscorer was going to be hard.
It would be nice to see any of Simms/Embleton/Gabriel back on loan/permanent as they would add something and are know by the rest of the players. Overall though I’m quite happy with the squad we have going forward.
My head says anywhere between 10th and 16th, this is Blackpool though so don’t be surprised if the bookies get it wrong and we end the season with an unbeaten run to finish in the play offs ;)