Smithies a target to help Blackpool avoid Premier League relegation

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Alex Smithies may be the goalkeeper given the task of helping ensure Blackpool survive in the Premier League if Ian Holloway chooses to replace Matt Gilks in the January transfer window.

Despite being leading relegation fancies before the season kicked off, Blackpool have surprised many by taking 22 points from their opening 16 games, which sees then positioned in the top half of the standings, six points clear of the bottom three.

This start has resulted in Blackpool drifting to 7/4 in the Premier League betting odds to be relegated this season, with Gilks being an integral part with some inspired performances.

Unsurprisingly, this has led to Gilks garnering interest from a host of other Premier League clubs, including Arsenal and Manchester City, and it is yet to be resolved where he will be playing his football next season.

Gilks’ contract expires at the end of the current campaign and he has publicly stated that talks about extending his present deal have hit a block.

Blackpool have shown that they can cope without Gilks in the last month as he has been sidelined with a knee injury, as they have taken seven points from a possible nine since, which includes victories over Wolves and Stoke.

However, Holloway will want some long-term competition for current stand-in stopper Richard Kingston and this has led to speculation that he may approach Huddersfield in January in a move for Smithies.

Despite being just a 20-year-old, Smithies is already rapidly closing in on 100 first-team appearances at Huddersfield and could cost as much as £5m to acquire.

Kingston is set to retain his place in goal for Blackpool in their next Premier League outing, which is at home to Tottenham.

Blackpool’s betting odds are 4/1 to beat Tottenham, with the visitors the 4/6 favourites to take the three points and remain on the fringes of the Premier League title picture.

A £10 bet on Blackpool beating Tottenham 2-0 could lead to a return of £220. New Ladbrokes customers can sign up here for a free £10 bet.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.