Here are five players that I believe would improve Phil Parkinson’s squad and would realistically be willing to join despite our somewhat undesirable position.
Armand Gnanduillet. The towering centre forward is out of contract at Blackpool after a very impressive season with The Tangerines. At 6 foot 4 he would obviously add a physical presence that’s been sorely lacking in our attack. Charlie Wyke has recently been linked away from the club, followed by reports that he is not for sale. Regardless of the outcome of that situation, Gnanduillet would surely be an improvement on Wyke and would instantly walk into the first team.
John McAtee is a 20-year-old attacker playing for Scunthorpe United. Although lacking in experience, the Scunthorpe forward would be full of hunger and relishing the opportunity to make his mark at the Stadium of Light. There’s also a link to our CEO Jim Rodwell, who will have some knowledge of McAtee’s ability from his time working at Scunthorpe.
Ben Heneghan is a centre half who is out of contract at Sheffield United and was on loan at Blackpool last season. As we currently only have Jordan Willis and Tom Flanagan in the heart of defence, the 26 year old would add more experience and solidity to a soft defence that is often too easy to bypass. Having played almost 200 games already at a pretty young age, Heneghan would fit in straight away and fill the void left by Alim Ozturk, Jack Baldwin and Joel Lynch.
The return of Bailey Wright would be a welcome addition, with the Aussie defender having impressed in his loan stint in the second half of last season. He seemed to be a calming influence at the back and brought out the best in his teammates before injury hit. Recently released by Bristol City, Wright would be an astute signing for Phil Parkinson.
Ben Alnwick. I know it’s not the most inspiring of signings, but with Jon McLaughlin gone and Anthony Patterson lacking experience Lee Burge remains our sole goalkeeper. The Prudhoe-born ‘keeper would provide healthy competition and would be able to fill in for cup competitions or if Burge got an injury. Being from our academy, Alnwick would not need time to settle in and therefore would be a good signing in order to keep some pressure on Burge and the two could bring the best out of each other.