Blackpool sporting director pinpoints the club’s aim and what they need to achieve it

The same Seasiders fell short of reaching the play-offs in the most recent campaign, with a 3-2 defeat on the final day away to Reading leaving them outside of the top six.

Stockport County, Wrexham and Mansfield Town have already been promoted from League Two, with a play-off final between Crawley Town and Crewe still to come. Meanwhile, Birmingham City, Huddersfield Town and Rotherham United have all been relegated from the Championship.

“The aim is of course to get the club back into the Championship but at the same time respect the sides who will be in and around us this coming season,” Downes stated on the club’s website.

“You look at the sides that are joining us – the likes of Wrexham and Stockport who have done exceptionally well over recent years and are riding the crest of a wave. The sides that are coming down from the Championship are established clubs in and around this level as well, so there are realistically probably around 12-15 teams who all think they will have a chance of making the top six come the end of the season.”

“We think we have a pretty good mix of coaches here who can work well with a group of players to help them grow both as a unit and as individuals. We saw it with players like Karamoko (Dembele), who was outstanding in the previous season. For this reason, we must have faith in our actions and the procedures we employ in order to get the most value possible.

With four senior players leaving the team after their contracts expire, the Seasiders will undergo a reconstruction this summer. Filling the voids left by Callum Connolly, Marvin Ekpiteta, Matty Virtue, and Shayne Lavery’s departures will be among Downes’ first tasks; the sporting director has an idea of the team that they will

“I think there’s no shying away from the fact that we are light in certain areas following the publication of the retained and released list, and these are areas we need to look at,” he stated.

“Our recruitment team has been working very hard, especially in the last few months, to identify possible players we could add to the club this summer.

“Of course, at different stages of the campaign, you work off different plans, but when the 2023–24 season ended, Neil, myself, and the recruitment staff met multiple times to discuss our goals for the squad and the positions we still needed to fill. Naturally, we also need to replace the players who have been excellent servants to us over the past several weeks, and we are putting a lot of effort into figuring out who the best candidates are.

“We must ensure that the group is properly balanced, with a decent mix of young and experienced members. The experience could result from a variety of factors, including age.

Throughout the season, there will be difficult periods that require us to persevere and dig deep. Having players on the team who have gone through similar experiences in the past can be quite beneficial.”


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