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Whilst Blackpool fans await news of who will turn up at Bloomfield Road with a heavy wallet and a masterplan for the rebirth of our club, life goes on behind the scenes in preparation for a new season. Maybe one of the truest testaments to the neglect and reckless way that the Oyston family ran Blackpool FC was the summer when we had just half a dozen players on the books. When they returned to training that pre-season, they'd have struggled with a 5-a-side featuring Phil Horner and Stan the Groundsman, let alone anything that would prepare them for the season ahead. So, at a time when the club is in this transitionary period, it seems ironic the number of players the club has on it's books is quite healthy (although as we saw at the end of last season, the jury is still out on a few of them). However the headline figures are 9 remain, 8 are released, 8 are extended, 3 have new offers, 4 get offered first time deals and 4 return to parent clubs. In short, at present, the Seasiders have a squad of around 16 players destined to return.
It's always interesting to see who grabs the headlines when this information is released. The stand outs will be the surprise that Donervon Daniels has been released, the announcement that Jimmy Ryan has been offered a new deal and the good news that Tilt and Turton will both be here next season. Daniels is a surprise as he has been a decent, if not outstanding performer, but the position is covered and so maybe it's worth the gamble to release him. Some might have fancied seeing a bit more of Chris Long but he's been released whilst the rest of those shown the door like Chris Taylor, Mark Cullen and Max Clayton are less of a shock. The likes of Scott Quigley and and John O'Sullivan were already long gone, whilst it's always disappointing to see a young talent like Fin Sinclair-Smith released without fans really able to make up their minds about him. It was always inevitable that Delfouenso would be offered a new deal but having played in just one game all season, the news that Jimmy Ryan has been offered a deal will raise some eyebrows. Jack Sims has also been offered another deal with the keeper yet to show his capabilities.
With regards to keepers with Howard and Mafoumbi both here next season, it may be a surprise that the option has been taken up on Myles Boney who is firmly a third choice. Rowan Roache, who has been at Derby's Under 23's, has also been retained and could be a useful asset going forward whilst the likes of Bola, Tilt, Anderton and Turton means we start next season with much of the defence that did a pretty decent job last time. However, Ben Heneghan's name on the list of players returning to their parent clubs is a reminder we now have a hole in that defence. Few will shed a tear at Anthony Evans heading back to Everton, but Nya Kirby is one fans would welcome back whilst Joe Dodoo's return to Rangers looks like being a one way ticket out of Blackpool. With one eye to the future, Sean Graham, Emil Jaaskelainen, Nathan Shaw and Owen Watkinson have all been offered pro contracts.
If you were to pick a first team from those who remain then Howard, Turton, Tilt, Bola and possibly Spearing would be the pick with Thompson, Gnanduillet, Virtue and Anderton all in the frame. However, with Pritchard, Guy, Feeney and Nottingham all here next season, there's already quite a bit of 'weight' in the squad. Hopefully, the dozen or so players who are set to leave, should leave the door open for the same amount of new players to arrive. The failings of the squad were clear last season and will need to be addressed over summer. Of course the elephant in the room is that much of those failings were down to Terry McPhillips who has made the decisions on these players futures - who makes the decisions on his fate remains to be seen.
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