EXCLUSIVE: Promotion hopefuls Fulham, Blackburn enter battle for standout Championship star

Josh Bowler chasing Antonee Robinson

Blackpool could be set to lose star winger Josh Bowler this month to one of a number of Championship rivals, TEAMtalk understands.

The Tangerines snapped up the 22-year-old after he left Everton in the summer. He has been outstanding for Neil Critchley’s this term.

Bowler signed an initial 12-month deal but with an option for another, which Blackpool are set to take in order to protect themselves.

Even so, we understand a host of Championship clubs are looking to swoop for Bowler – who can operate on either flank.

Fulham, Blackburn, Stoke and Nottingham Forest are amongst the clubs ready to make a move.

Blackpool’s number 11 has started 16 Championship matches this season, coming on in 10 more. He has provided one goal and three assists.

Furthermore, he scored once from his only substitute appearance in the Carabao Cup, after previously starting one more game in an earlier round of that competition.

The Chertsey-born ace came through QPR’s academy before playing once for their first team. He then earned a move to Everton, who never used him but loaned him to Hull City in the 2019-20 season.

He made 28 Championship appearances in his first full taste of a second-tier season. Bowler has built up a lot more experience since leaving Everton as a free agent for Blackpool.

Josh Bowler

It remains to be seen how long he will stay at Bloomfield Road, though. All four of his other suitors in the Championship are currently in a superior league position.

Blackburn are currently second in the table, hoping to seal automatic promotion. Fulham are in the play-off places, aiming for an instant return to the Premier League.

Stoke and Forest are eighth and ninth respectively, with plenty of time to make ground on the top six.

Blackpool are having a good season themselves, sitting in mid-table. But there are clubs who could give Bowler the next platform on which to express his talents.

Critchley comments on Josh Bowler future

Earlier this month, there were reports of Blackpool rejecting a bid from Forest for Josh Bowler.

Despite this, Critchley admitted The Tangerines don’t want to sell their star performer this transfer window.

Speaking to the Blackpool Gazette, Critchley said: “I’m not going to confirm anything or get involved in speculation. That would be wrong.

“Silly season has started today, hasn’t it?

“You’ve only got to look at how Josh played today [on New Year’s Day against his former side Hull City] to see it didn’t affect him. Because I thought he was terrific.

“He’s been fantastic for us this season so we want to keep him at this football club.”

‘Turkey’s Simon Cowell’ poised to take over Hull – see how he compares to these egomaniac club owners