The Championship has a real Lancashire flavour to it this season, with Preston, Blackburn Rovers, Blackpool and Burnley all involved.
Rovers missing out on the playoffs and Burnley suffering relegation confirmed what few have seen.
Preston, Blackburn, Blackpool and Burnley all in the same division.
For the first time since 1961, Lancashire’s four biggest clubs are all battling in the same league having managed to avoid each other for more than 60 years.
North End have one derby coming up next week but Blackpool have already faced Burnley and Blackburn this season; it’s starting to feel like there’s a Lancashire derby every other week this season!
With the transfer window closed, it feels like a great opportunity to look at our Lancashire rivals and see how they fared over the summer…
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The departure of Tony Mowbray brought the shock appointment of Jon Dahl Tomasson, a name that brings some gravitas to football fans of a certain age.
The big summer news for Rovers was that the transfer deadline passed without star forward Ben Brereton Diaz leaving the club, despite major interest from Premier League clubs.
Tomasson has been backed with signings; Callum Brittain, Dominic Hyam and Sammie Szmodics have all arrived in seven-figure deals, whilst the loan market has been utilised again.
Tyler Morton, George Hirst and Clinton Mola – all talented young players – have arrived on loan from Liverpool, Leicester City and Stuttgart respectively.
Darragh Lenihan and Joe Rothwell were big losses, especially on free transfers, but Rovers look to be in good shape but have had a mixed start so far, losing four and winning four in the Championship.
The Tangerines made a couple of moves that raised eyebrows, appointing Michael Appleton and then signing Rhys Williams, with both having strong connections to Preston.
It’s never easy for managers at Blackpool given the budget restrictions, and getting players in proved to be a struggle.
Cameron Brannagan turned down a move in order to stay at Oxford United, and Blackpool only had one permanent signing on board before the season started.
That was left back Dominic Thompson, but Blackpool struck three late permanent deals by signing youngsters Owen Moffat, Zak Emmerson and Callum Wright from Celtic, Brighton and Hove Albion and Leicester City respectively.
Right back Andy Lyons will finally join from Shamrock Rovers in January after a protracted saga with the Irish club.
Appleton has always used the loan market well and he has been at it again with Blackpool, securing deals for Liverpool’s Williams, Manchester City’s Lewis Fiorini, Wolves ace Theo Corbeanu, Arsenal’s Charlie Patino and Leeds United’s Ian Poveda.
The late sale of Josh Bowler to Nottingham Forest is a huge blow and Appleton faces a battle to bring this young squad together, but he has always been impressive at developing young talent – and the Seasiders will hope it’s their ticket to another season in the Championship.
What a summer it has been for the Clarets.
We all knew changes were coming after relegation from the Premier League, but appointing Vincent Kompany was just the first domino to fall in a bonkers few months.
We’ll try and get through this quickly, but Burnley raided the Belgian market six times to sign midfielders Samuel Bastien, Josh Cullen and Marcel Lewis, wingers Manuel Benson and Anass Zourary as well as right back Vitinho.
Kompany used his Manchester City connections to sign CJ Egan-Riley and Arijanet Muric permanently as well as defender Taylor Harwood-Bellis on loan.
Young talent has been secured from League One with Scott Twine and Luke McNally arriving from Oxford United respectively.
Macedonian talent Darko Churlinov has joined from Stuttgart and Italian goalkeeper Denis Franchi arrived from Paris Saint-Germain, all of which gives Burnley a very European flair.
Add in loan deals for Harwood-Bellis, Ian Maatsen, Nathan Tella, Jordan Bayer and Halil Dervisoglu and Burnley have built a fascinating squad.
Knitting so many new faces together won’t be easy for Kompany, who has also seen the likes of Nick Pope, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Phil Bardsley, Aaron Lennon, Erik Pieters, Dale Stephens, Nathan Collins, Wayne Hennessey, Dwight McNeil, Maxwel Cornet and Wout Weghorst move on.
Including Under-23 deals, Burnley have brought in 20 new signings and lost 34 players, meaning there will be ups and downs as this new squad comes together, but the early signs suggest that the Clarets will finish at the top of this Lancastrian mini-league this season.