Blackpool have made an ambitious double-swoop ahead of tomorrow’s clash, with another new signing on the way very soon.
Simon Grayson has been given plenty to spend this transfer window, with Blackpool firmly in the ‘haves’ of the division in terms of spending power. They had a strong summer but haven’t lived up to the hype; however in the last 24 hours they’ve made a double signing which may have some impact on tomorrow’s game.
First to sign was Gary Madine; a name familiar to fans of either of the Sheffield clubs as he represented both. He’s a big, aggressive striker, 29-years-old who last surfaced at Cardiff City, where he struggled for goals. He has previously had a short spell with the Tangerines, scoring three times in 15 appearances during a loan spell from Sheffield Wednesday.
He’s a four-time promotion winner, who has already helped take Sheffield Wednesday and Bolton Wanderers to the Championship in 2012 and 2017 respectively. Those two spells were his most successful, scoring a combined total of 54 goals across the two spells. He left Bolton for Cardiff in 2018, but couldn’t replicate his scintillating form in South Wales. He did spend time on loan at Sheffield United last season, scoring three times as they earned promotion to the Premier League.
Now, the reason he may be well known to Sheffield football fans isn’t just his goals; he was sent down for actual bodily harm in 2013 after punching a man in a bar. he allegedly asked his victim who he supported and when the man, not recognising Madine, said ‘United’, he was punched. He’s done his time and has rebuilt his career, so fair play to him for that. His capture is quite a coup for the Tangerines, but it does highlight how well we’re actually doing; we’re losing players and trying to build a legacy, whilst a team on the same points as us are bringing in players like Madine.
“Gary was our number one striking target in this window, so we are absolutely delighted to bring him back to Blackpool,” said Chief Exec Ben Mansford. “He has a fantastic record at this level and we firmly believe he will help us realise our ambitions as a Club. Welcome back, Gary.”
They’ve also followed our pattern a little and moved for an Eire Under 21 international on loan from the Premier League. We’ve got Conor Coventry (there’s a song in there somewhere), whilst they’ve got Connor Ronan from Wolves this afternoon. The 21-year-old recently returned to the Premier League club after a year on loan with Slovakian side DAC Dunajska Streda.
Manager Grayson said: “Connor’s an exciting player and the type of player that we’ve been missing this season.
“A lot of people speak highly about him and he’s had some good experience out in Slovakia, as well as internationally for Ireland at Under-21 level. We’re looking for him to get on the ball, pick a pass and add something different to the squad.”
They’re also being heavily linked with a move for keeper Chris Maxwell, a former Grayson protege at Preston North end who has recently been on loan in the SPFL. That won’t happen before tomorrow, but it might be interesting to watch the Tangerines (after tomorrow). Their transfer record in the summer impressed me and yet they flattered to deceive through the first half of the season; they’re impressing me again but it remains to be seen if Grayson still has what it takes to put a team in the Championship.