Blackpool will be without one of their key midfielders this season in Hartlepool after his loan deal ends.
Cardiff have recalled Ryan Wintle from his season-long loan at Bloomfield Road after a successful spell in which he became a central figure in the heart of central midfield.
the sailors were one of several clubs interested in the former Crewe man this summer on a permanent basis, but the Bluebirds have successfully landed him on a three-year deal.
READ MORE: Blackpool vs Hartlepool Live Match Updates
However, it quickly became apparent that their former manager Mick McCarthy was unable to offer him any consistent minutes and Blackpool swept in to offer him a first-team loan spot.
Already short in central midfield, this news only sought to highlight the lack of options in that area for the Tangerines, but Neil Critchley believes it is part and parcel of using the loan market.
“You always know that loaning out a player, like Ryan, who has made a big contribution to our team, is risky,” Critchley said.
“We really enjoyed having him here but we always knew he was Cardiff’s player, he only signed for Cardiff in the summer so he has a few years left on his contract there, so we always knew it was something that could happen.
“It’s something that we have planned and prepared for, you don’t want to do that, but you have to imagine and visualize your team without him and what it might look like.
“Ryan has been great and I hope he returns to Cardiff and has a good second half of the season for them, unless he plays against us of course.”
Given the nature of his contract, it’s likely the Seasiders will struggle to bring him back to the Fylde Coast on a permanent deal, so other options are on the cards.
It’s a key position that Neil Critchley is looking to tackle and he’s well aware of the lack of depth in the center of the park.
“I think if you look at the composition of our squad and the players we have in this position, you’d say that’s one area of the pitch where we’re slightly short-handed,” Critchley added.
“Obviously, now that Ryan is returning to Cardiff, I would say that is a position that we will try, if we can, to reinforce during this window.
Don’t miss anything from the club you love! For all the latest updates on Blackpool FCsign up before our free newsletter launches with all the latest Seasiders news.